True Fit and Mermaid Schools

If your jeans are too tight, chances are you are going to feel miserable. If your shoes don’t fit, every step can be painful. Since I’m getting married in May, I’ve been to a lot of fittings for loved ones in my life. The suits and the dress needed some alterations to get to a true fit. We want the “just right” to feel and look better. It’s not just clothes – humans desire true fit in all areas of their life, yet it’s much harder to pinpoint what that is when it’s anything other than clothes – primarily relationships and careers.

Yes, some people are better at noticing those physical sensations that tell us, “this isn’t working”. A tight chest, a sick stomach, tense muscles, a headache – all signs our body is saying we are in distress because of a wrong fit. If we check in with our emotions and connect the dots, we can see that sadness, boredom, anxiety – and conversely happiness and peace and joy, can tell us when we are in our comfort zone. This is ultimately why I talk so much about personality types and leadership training because we are never done dealing with people – are we? I mean, I hope not. Simply cutting off people entirely is a pretty lonely strategy. It’s knowing when to cut the rope, when to give things some slack, and when to tighten the reins that enables us to manage our lives better.

Last month I joined a CORE group with Mickie Lara and Giant Worldwide which world to build leaders worth following. They do that by focusing on true fit and “knowing yourself to lead yourself” which is key before you can lead anyone else. Not only did I find that my tested personality type was off (ENTJ) – my true fit is a ENTP and that one letter difference was a biggie. I have learned to operate in the world as a “J” to get things done as a mom and entrepreneur, but I am not a CEO-type like ENTJs – I’m a creative independent thinker and innovator who prefers the next big idea over the status quo and I am always juggling passions because my restless mind cannot stop thinking of how to make a room or a brand or the world in general, better. Better is just better. I see problems (or bad fits!) and come up with ways to fix them. I get how this can be a problem for dealing with day-to-day situations and relationships. So I’m working on that, too.

My point is to question what’s going on and dig deeper and see what ‘feels’ right, not just what ‘sounds’ right – or what you WISH TO BE SO. Take the test, sure, but I’d encourage you to watch all of the videos and listen to the podcasts Giant provides as well for deeper insight into what your true fit could be and then of course how to get along better in the world. I’m looking forward to meeting on of the co-founders, Steve, who is also a ENTP and learning more about the 5 Voices. It’s interesting to see your loved ones realize their true fit as well. My alma mater ended up not being a fit for my son, so he transferred schools and likes it better. A big decision, but that’s what we are charged to do as CEOs of our life – to make the choices that fit and lead us to better.

I’ve had the mermaid theme on this blog (and a book I haven’t finished writing) about mermaids who are strong women who dive deep for their dreams. I’m thrilled that I have found a school of mermaids in a co-working space The Collective who I have collaborated with the last six months, and that includes creating a networking group of mermaid-types we are calling Chicks in Charge. Our first event is an egg hunt and spring party at Patriarch April 9th so if you are reading this in Oklahoma, be sure and buy a ticket and let’s connect. If you are reading this from afar, I encourage you to find fellow mermaids you can swim with – mermaids who let you be you.

As a future-oriented thinker, I tend to believe the future is always bright (because I’ll make it so), but honest-to-God the present moment is pretty bright, too. I have a lot to say about planning a mid-life wedding – and starting over in general – which I’ll share in the future, I’m sure. It is so so good to find a true fit in a partner and in the world.

Here’s a few pics of life as of late. xoxo

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Evenings with great friends and my love. 
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I co-chaired with pom and cheer banquet and it’s all worth it for this girl! 
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More mermaid friends. 

 

 

Looking for Someone to Blame

If you’re on the “2016 Sucks” bandwagon, I get it. Lots of stuff went down this year – deaths of beloved icons, a heated presidential election – but bad stuff happens every year – and it’s never, ever the year to blame. Was the year that innocent kindergarteners were gunned down in their classroom worse? For my mental health, it sure was. But that still doesn’t mean it was the year to blame. It was the madman. It was the gunman’s mental health. And in the deaths of Carrie Fisher, Prince and George Michael, it was years of self-destruction to blame, not the year. That Carrie’s mother, Debbie Reynolds died a day after her daughter, is a sad reminder of our own heartbreak. We want to feel good, stay high on life, so when an icon dies, our dreams die a little bit, too.Image 5

As I said in the last post, the thing to do when life gets you down is to throw gratitude like confetti. Yet that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to get real about the shit going down. The key, then, is to be able to ride the waves – to not emotionally drown in the highs or lows.

Eckhart Tole tells us we have three choices when we encounter a situation we don’t like:

  1. Leave it.
  2. Change it.
  3. Accept it.

Note he doesn’t say, “complain about it on Facebook!” or “let it ruin your day and affect everyone around you”. Of course we all share our frustrations with life in various ways, but if we want to truly be at peace, we have to decide if we are going with 1, 2 or 3 every time the job prob, relationship issue or Thing You Don’t Like rears its head. Leave the job or the relationship. Change the job or relationship. Accept the job or relationship. Trump and politics in general? Same. Change what you can but don’t beat yourself up about the things you can’t control. We’re not talking about burying our feelings, but about acknowledging them, deciding what we can do about it, and then going forward. Life is all about going forward.

A friend’s sewer pipe burst the other day, two days after they had just moved in. Was she going to let it ruin their Christmas? Nope. You act on what you have control over (getting it fixed) and simply accept that these things happen (because they do, over and over.) That’s it. Move along.

2016, like every year, had its ups and downs. I made a lot of money until I didn’t. I went out of the country for the first time – along with my kids! I got engaged. I didn’t accomplish a lot of things I’d hoped to this year, but I did accomplish learning how to give myself grace when I don’t check something off of my list. That’s pretty big. In my “one bow, many arrows” philosophy, I realize that I try to pack too many arrows into my quiver.

I’m ending 2016 by spending the day with my kids and the evening with my beloved and one of my best friends at a wedding. I can’t think of a better way to close out this year and begin the next one. Love.

If you get something from my posts, why not subscribe? My book, Personal Brand Power, will be coming out in late January, so stay tuned for more content on how to power up for personal and professional success.

Latest video: Radical Presence – let’s do this!

Getting Empty to Find Your North Star

Can you see where you’re going on a really cloudy day?

Can you find your favorite shirt if it’s in a messy closet?

Do you know how you really feel if you’ve buried your feelings?

Can you promote your personal brand and attract the right customers if you are so busy that you’ve lost your passion and don’t even know who you are anymore? 

In all of these scenarios, the busy-ness and clutter of life and “shoulds” and “muchness” can keep us from clarity and what it takes to feel – and live – the way we want to. In business. In relationships.

In writing novels, our stories begin with an INCITING INCIDENT. It’s what gets the story rolling and is often a problem that kicks off the plot and motivates the protagonist with both inner and outer goals.

IN REAL LIFE, we all have inciting incidents. We have major events that shape our lives and even minor events that shift our perspective. We are constantly growing and changing which is why I encourage my clients to practice self-compassion and give them some grace regarding where to take their businesses if they feel they have lost their passion or are struggling with what to do to balance growing a business and still rocking their personal life. What are yours? Write them down. Think on them.

So, how do we find our north star? In my newest ONE BOW MANY ARROWS podcast, I review Martha Beck’s book, FINDING YOUR NORTH STAR. Check out the 5 Golden Arrows from the book by subscribing to my iTunes podcast OR listening here:

In the journey to finding our true purpose, we are on a teeter totter of dealing with the concepts of EMPTINESS AND FULLNESS, which I discuss in my latest Bow & Arrows video. (Below and on my Video page.) Sometimes we feel LOST because we feel empty – no direction, no passion, confusion. Other times we feel TOO FULL because our lives are too busy and we feel BURIED IN OUR TO-DOS. Yet emptiness can be a good thing because we NEED to get rid of the clutter to identify our core desires and how to get there. If you are feeling empty, you are already PRIMED FOR FILLING YOURSELF UP. Yay! Awareness is the key to our journey and where ALL THE ANSWERS LIE. This doesn’t mean that you will ACT on them, but I promise you the answer is there. Doesn’t mean it isn’t damn hard to deal with that “gem” when you’ve uncovered it.

How it works: I call it the Artemis Infinity Loop. You are the hunter and your loop goes like this – AWARENESS, ACTION, ASSESSMENT. It’s a PRIMAL instinct so it’s not like we can stop it from happening.infinity

You’re in the cave, you hear something like a tiger outside in the bushes, AWARENESS. Your heart is pounding – you feel fear, yet you must protect yourself and family. You gather the courage and decide to check it out with your spear in hand, ACTION. You quietly tiptoe out, all senses blazing, and see that the noise is only a raccoon foraging, ASSESSMENT. So you go back to bed. The loop begins again. We make a thousand choices a day. THEREFORE GETTING BETTER AT MAKING DECISIONS IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS. The loop is your friend, yet we are often terrible at all three steps! We stay “unconscious” so we lack awareness or our minds are stuck in an untrue story about ourselves and our lives. When we act we might be afraid or ignore the awareness. Or we skip over assessment and find – ta-da – that same issue WILL ARISE AGAIN, because we didn’t deal with it properly the first time.

November is a great time to do this exercise for assessing what you accomplished this year – how you felt about it – and where you want to take your personal brand and business in 2017. Isharktooth_arrow_quiver_inventory_icon‘m teaching a workshop tonight MODERN MARKETING FOR A KILLER 2017 at The Collective in Edmond and have a few seats left (I’m keeping it small so we can discuss your goals) so INVEST IN YOUR BRAND and come if you can make it a priority. I think we’ll pop over and have a beer at the Patriarch after. I’m also offering the workshop as an e-course so use my contact form to let me know you are interested and I’ll send you the registration. Course is $99, four classes including a Powerpoint, video and worksheets PLUS a personal follow up via phone call to discuss your plan.

Coming up I’m also featuring The Collective Mermaids as part of my ongoing Mermaid series here on my blog. These are kick ass business owners and entrepreneurs I office with that I think you should know. They have amazing stories to tell. Subscribe to the blog so it will always pop into your email when I have a new post (which is about every other week if I’m managing my time right.)

Now…In personal news…I’m engaged! Life is full of pleasant surprises and my fiancé

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Pic snapped after Chris told our guests our big news. Love.

has been a huge gift in my life the last two years. We told our friends at our annual Halloween party and since then we’ve been busy making plans for a May wedding. I was the Bride of Frankenstein. Appropriate, yeah?

Let’s finish 2016 strong! I’m here if you need me. xo

Hard Habits and The Voice in the Trees

I have a long list of bad habits.

When I was a kid suffering from anxiety, my habits included nail biting, hair chewing, cover225x225plucking the hair from my eyebrows, and, worst of all, obsessive compulsive thoughts about my loved ones dying, which is how I would go to sleep at night. My “nightmares” were when I was conscious, lying under the covers in the dark when my brain “took over” offering up a a movie-style scene of…you name it — car crashes, fires, heart attacks, kidnappings and so on.

After a shit ton of self growth the last two decades through mostly reading and writing, but also cognitive behavioral therapy, I have been able to get rid of those nasty habits and rewire my brain. I no longer think bad thoughts before I go to sleep and if I catch an anxious thought worming through my brain, I call it out and stop it or reframe it. Yes, it’s okay to talk to yourself. If I see a catch my fingernail in my mouth, I know it’s usually a sign that I’m nervous or anxious about something and so I can tell myself to calm down. More gentle self talk.

As an adult, I have a ton of other habits that are both good (exercising daily) and bad (leaving half-drank coffee mugs around the house) and as someone who is into psychology and neuroscience, I’m fascinated with HOW we can change these habits and form new and better ones.

In my second episode of ONE BOW MANY ARROWS, I’ve plucked 5 Golden Arrows from Gretchen Rubin’s stellar book, “Better than Before” about just that: understanding self to break bad habits and create good ones. I read it on the flight to and from NYC in 2015 and I’m thrilled to share it with you. Yes, Aristotle’s quote, “Quality is not an act, it is a habit” is the truth. In business, if quality is not a habit, it means customer service and quality assurance isn’t staying on course. We have to put in the effort EVERY DAY and show up to want the change and do the hard work to make it happen.

fullsizerender-5WHAT?! OMG, I’m thrilled my podcast is now available on iTunes so if you want to give it a try, click on the iTunes badge below. I’d love your feedback as well as ideas for things you’d like for me to discuss in future episodes. I will tell you next week’s book will be about personality types! LOVE. Also a quick note about the ‘explicit’ rank on my podcast. After listening to many, many podcasts, I found that ones that let people speak freely, Like Elizabeth Gilbert and Danielle Laporte, includes some cursing and therefore, get the explicit title. My mom advised me that that could turn some listeners off – and readers here – but unfortunately, that isn’t dissuading me from using the words I (or my guests) feel compelled to use. I’ll try not to use them often, but just know whatever is said is coming from the moment, not a script. Staying real and vulnerable to what comes is what it’s about for me. I don’t get raunchy because that’s not my style, but “hell” and “damn” don’t even seem like curse words to me. My personal stories might be for adult audiences, too, so I’d rather be ‘safe’ and use the label than not, you know? In my personal life I like curse words because they say what I’m feeling. I don’t have to tip toe around the issue. It’s direct. I’m direct.

Cool? Awesome. I think you’re going to LOVE these books I’m reviewing in the first 12 episodes, so let me know if I’m right about that!

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In other THANK GOD IT’S ABOUT TIME NEWS, I’m also pretty pumped that I’m writing again, which is really editing a story I wrote four years ago, my first mystery, Away. It was supposed to be a novel, but I’m reworking is as a novella to STAY ON TARGET and bring it to the world in a way that’s realistic for me. As I learned in Gretchen’s book, I’m an “opener” which means I get way more excited about new things/ideas/products so finishing can be a problem for me. As I discuss in my podcast, my partner is a finisher, so he ensures we don’t waste food, whereas, I’m the one that will have four bags of crackers open. I’m forcing myself to finish things I’ve started, in part thanks to my mother Patricia, who told me I would be happier if I finished these stories. So…yes to KNOWING YOURSELF and getting it done.

I encourage you to take this time to figure out what that looks like for you….finishing something you are passionate about and making a plan for it.

For you Bow & Arrows marketers, makers and entrepreneurs out there, my latest video includes some of my favorite digital tools for sharing your content with the world. If you’d like to schedule a strategy session with me, we can do a live video session, so use the contact form to book it. These “Wake Up to Wonder” PJ Strategy Sessions are just $50 in September and October so let me know if you are interested! I’m interested in gaining some challenging creative work, so let’s see if we can help each other to grow.

Lastly, in our Bow & Arrows vocabulary, I’d like to introduce, “The Voice in the Trees”, which is to be aware of things others may say to keep you off track or tell you that you don’t need to change or try to diminish your dreams. (You don’t need to lose weight. You should be happy where you are. Just be thankful you have a job. This is your lot in life. You get the idea. While we do need to listen to others, it’s important to be able to discern the good advice from the bad and the intention behind it.

—xoxo Ready. Aim. Grow.—>>>

 

 

 

 

Meet Teacher/Sister Mermaid Tina Ross

I tried to remember the first time I met Tina. I was told I was so mad upon her arrival that

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Tina (left), Me (crying, right)

I held my breath until I passed out. If that’s the case, I guess I’ve been a drama queen since 14 months of age. Tina and I are nearly Irish twins yet she relishes that I’m the “older sister”. Actually, I love being the big sis to her and our younger sister Amanda and on this Mother’s Day and the end of National Teacher Appreciation Week, I knew I had to make a splash about my mermaid teacher/sister Tina.

When we were younger I was the one who wanted to be the teacher but as I grew older I realized it was just because I liked to be the one at the head of the class holding the chalk, i.e. the “power” and attention. No, Tina is the teacher of the family and got an early childhood education degree followed by certification as a special ed teacher, specifically working with emotionally disturbed kids and I know she goes through a lot of stress and paperwork but she loves those kids and her job.
Stairstep sisters.
Stairstep sisters.
In addition to being a teacher and mom, she runs half marathons lickety-split and she’s always up for a Starbucks run with me (the only kind of running I do.) I can also count on her to join me in adventures like two years ago when we hiked 8 miles at Black Mesa, the tallest point in Oklahoma. And in two weeks our families are going camping together in Eureka Springs.  I’m so thankful to have her in my life and to get to introduce you to her today.

Our Wonder Women pose after reaching the top of Black Mesa.
Our Wonder Women pose after reaching the top of Black Mesa.
ML: Tina, tell us about the moment you made the deep dive for your dream in helping kids with special needs and some of your successes you are most proud of from over the years.20160414_175304
TR: This is my 20th year in education! After 2 years teaching at Head Start, I taught regular 4th and 5th grade for 10 years.  This is my 8th year in special education.  I teach 2nd to 5th graders, but I have had early childhood and even high school kids on my caseload.  I teach mainly reading, math, and written language.  My students’ needs range from developmentally delayed, specific learning disability, intellectually disabled, hearing and vision impaired, to some of my most special and challenging kids with an emotional or behavioral disability.  I spend the most time with my ED and BD kids, so therefore I become closest to them.
I would say that my most proud moments and successes are when my students learn something new, cope with stresses, overcome triggers, and develop social skills.  I follow Love and Logic practices, which is effective with all children.  There will always be those few that need in patient care before public ed. is appropriate, but we give every child a chance to succeed and each one makes an impact on my life.
On a personal note, my two teenage sons, Joshua and Jacob, make me incredibly proud.  Both boys are so smart, take schoolwork seriously, have part time jobs in construction, and are kind to each other and me.  That says a lot!
ML: Tina, what always brings a smile to your face?
TR: My husband doing dishes makes me smile.  Lol.  My love language is acts of service, and he speaks that really well!  Quality time with my boys makes me incredibly happy, because teen boys are struggling to be independent from their parents, especially Mom, so any time I do get is valued immensely.  One of my loves is running, so I have to put running outside with my husband, Doug, and my running friends, as an all time favorite of mine!
ML: What’s been the biggest challenge in your life what did/do you overcome adversity?
TR: The biggest challenge for me to overcome was my shyness and insecurities as a youth.  In grade school and middle school I was painfully shy and insecure, and I struggled with self-confidence through out my adolescence.  But with each achievement in college and then professionally as a teacher, my self-esteem has grown.  I recognize the difference I make in the lives of my students who have worse situations and adversities than I’ve had, I delight in seeing my own children work through similar middle school issues with strength and courage, and I enjoy the love and support from my colleagues, friends, and family.
I overcome adversity by reaching out to people and asking for wisdom and guidance.  There are things I could not have managed to get through without the love, encouragement, knowledge of others, and my determination and belief that this too shall pass. 20160424_090924
ML: I’m so thrilled not only that we got to grow up together and still journey through the good and tough times together. I love that we both resonated so much with Eckhart Tolle and his teachings. What are your favorite tool(s) for enlightened living (presence, intention, action)?
TR: I begin each day with an Inspirational Bible Verse and coffee, sometimes after a good run with some friends.   I am a realist, and I sometimes feel hopeless about a situation with a student, but as soon as I walk into my classroom I am revived and motivated to make it an amazing day.  I greet whomever walks into my classroom and my home with a friendly Hello!  I am happy to see each and every student, guest, and family member who enters.  I want to know how everyone is doing, and to keep relationships in my life positive.
 I am deliberate in what I eat, and try to be present while eating.  This is a new discipline for me, because as a young lady I struggled with poor eating and body image.  It feels terrific to love and respect my body as it is, and just want to keep it healthy!  Aging isn’t fun, but maturing and gaining wisdom I can pass on to the younger generation makes it all worth it!
 
Share or connect with Tina here:
Twitter: @dougtina
Instagram: tinaross01
Facebook: Tina Brown Ross
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mama readers out there! Mothers are our first and best life-long teachers.

To living in the deep,

Malena

P.S. If you like the mermaid series, be sure and subscribe so it will come to you each week in your in box! And thanks for sharing the love. xo

I’ll be back with two Every day Adventure posts up next – one from Kansas City and I’ll let you know how we survived tent camping in Eureka Springs!

Meet Bejeweled Mermaid Deanne Beaudoin

If you believe like I do that one door closing means another opens, you’ll love this week’s Mermaid Tale. Sometimes doors get slammed shut – you lose a job, you get divorced, your kids leave the house – and that forces us to stare at a new door, a new opportunity – and I hope before we reach for that handle that we bring with us the intention to go for our passions. What have you always wanted to do that you haven’t done? What feels “over” in your life and what unfinished/unfulfilled dreams still lurk in your soul?

My assistant Melanie Thomas – who is helping me open lots of fabulous doors – introduced me to this week’s mermaid, Deanne Beaudoin, who transplanted her family to Oklahoma – new state door! – and launched her dream to make jewelry. Mermaid Pearls of Wisdom in bold for us to think upon and treasure.

Mermaid Deanna
Mermaid Deanne

ML: Hello, Deanne. Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your story and beautiful jewelry at Felicity Designs. What was that moment you made the deep dive for your dream in starting your jewelry line?

DB: In August of 2005, my family embarked on the adventure of our lives.  My husband, Jerome, and I, along with our four children, moved from Calgary, Alberta, Canada to Edmond, Oklahoma.  This was no small feat, and our little family unit went through a great deal of adjustment.

Prior to our move, I was a practicing Speech Language Pathologist, and worked ¾ time in my Private Practice.  Although I was qualified to continue working in the US, I decided to take 1 year off to help with our family’s adjustment to life in Oklahoma.  This year was filled with school volunteering, play dates, birthday parties, slumber parties and extra-curricular activities.  Although this was very fulfilling and helped our children to acclimate, my desire to create was ever-present and I decided to also spend time designing jewelry.  I had always enjoyed creating jewelry for family and friends, and lifting their moods with one of my pieces.  It was fabulous to have supportive and often constructive feedback to help me hone my skills and develop a sense of style.

MelissaGreenPhotography5-7At the encouragement of my family and friends, I decided to try my hand at selling my jewelry.   My first sale was on Ebay, and although I didn’t really make any money with this sale, I was hooked and my confidence slightly boosted.  I opened my first online shop in February of 2007 on Ruby Lane (a large marketplace for Artisan Jewelry, Antiques and Collectables), and “Felicity Jewelry Designs” was born.  I began to quickly learn about posting online, taking photographs and customer service.  Simultaneously, I was working hard to increase and improve my jewelry making and design skills.   I began to devote more and more time to my jewelry making and selling, and the idea of going back to Speech Language Pathology became less important. Although I did experience moments of insecurity and doubt, my new business allowed me to follow my passion, design and create, and feel productive while taking care of my young family.   With constant encouragement from my husband, my business evolved and grew, and I began to sell at trunk and art/craft shows, consign in boutiques and rent space in vendor’s marketplaces.  As well, I have  always worked to increase my online presence.

ML: Entrepreneurship is all about experimenting, revising and growing. Congrats on your success, Deanne. Working can be so taxing, even when it’s something we love. What brings a smile to your face?

DB: My family consistently brings a smile to my face.  I so enjoy interacting with the young adults that my husband and I have raised (now aged 23, 22, 19 and 17 years). I am in awe of the kind and caring people they have become.  In 2015, our eldest daughter married a wonderful young man, and we are so excited that our family has grown, and God willing, will continue to do so.

I strongly believe that gratitude is fundamental to true contentment and happiness.  Practicing gratitude does take effort, but I find that consciously doing so insulates me from the discouragement that often results from comparing to others and “keeping score”.  Deflecting thoughts of jealousy, revenge and envy can often be achieved by simply taking a moment to realize and define your negative feeling and replace it with thoughts of thankfulness.

ML: Our get real moment. Share with us a challenge and how you worked through it.

DB: One of the biggest challenges that I have faced is our children leaving home to pursue their University educations.  While feeling happy and proud that they are working towards becoming independent and functioning members of our community, I feel a strong of strong sense of loneliness and a yearning for the days when they were young and their lives revolved around our home and family.

My lovely 98-year-old grandmother has always said that life is a series of phases, and that each phase should be embraced and assessed in terms of positivity and novelty.  As we move through our own phases, it is good to define what we are experiencing and find the goodness that there is.  Rather than mourn the losses from a previous phase, try to see what your new phase holds and choose to enjoy!

My grandmother’s wisdom has been crucial in helping me to  deal with inevitable change and to look forward to a future that  includes children with whom you can develop friendships, new in laws and of course, grand-children!!

ML: That’s so relevant to so many of our readers, Deanne. I’ve been going through that as my senior is about to head to college in the fall and my teens are so independent. It’s TOUGH on mamas. How cool that your grandmother provides such wisdom for you, too. I’d love to hear how you practice enlightened living – presence, intention, action. What inspires you?

DB: I recently read and identified with an essay entitled, “Power of Letting Go” by Rev. J Martin Page. In this essay Page asserts that, “God is only in the present moment.”  He writes that by dwelling on regrets of the past, you are blocking God’s love from fully entering your life.  In addition, if you only focus and worry about the future, Page insists that you are doubting God’s plan.  This is not to say that the past should not be learned from and the future not thought about.  However, I do believe that placing trust in God’s plan for our lives and learning to appreciate our present situation helps to better achieve a context of enlightened and positive living. For me personally, it is when I am in such a frame of mind that my creativity and design abilities are at their best.

ML: We absolutely only have Now. Thank you for sharing your journey with us today, Deanne. Mermaids, please treat yourself or another mermaid in your life to one of Deanne’s pretty pieces, which can be  found locally here…

  • Best of Books (Edmond Oklahoma)
  • Sparkles (Bethany, Oklahoma)
  • Feathered Nest (Warr Acres, Oklahoma)
  • Showplace Market (Moore and Stillwater)
  • Serendipity Market (Edmond, Oklahoma)

And online at:

–   http://felicityjewelrydesigns.com

To living in the deep,

Malena

“Crash Into Me” by Malena Lott (Flash Fiction Freebie)

Happy Valentine’s Day, loves! I wrote this flash fiction in 2013 (originally titled “One Foggy Morning” and wanted to share it this weekend because you just never know when – or how – that special someone will enter your life. Here’s to loving ourselves, not settling for mediocre love, and above all to loving kindness. xoxo – Malena

BONUS:  My short story collection on love and loss, Hope Floats, is FREE on Amazon this weekend. Link below. Come back Monday for a very special Mermaid Mojo feature!

***

The dense fog hung so low Maddie Swinson saw only knees and feet coming toward her on

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Photo courtesy Jesse Bowser

the city sidewalk. Just past the morning rush hour, the swell of pedestrians had thinned and slowed, save for one who knocked Maddie backwards, causing her body to slice through the fog that only appeared pillow soft.

The next thing she remembered she heard angels singing, in what she assumed was her entry to the afterlife. Giddiness overcame her, a tingling feeling crawling all the way up her arm. She couldn’t help but laugh aloud – her husband had been wrong! All those times he’d told her to go to hell hadn’t worked. Not that she believed he had any sway with the Big Man Upstairs, but he was a deacon in their church and that fact had gone to his head long before the choir director did, too.

Only wasn’t heaven supposed to be light? No tunnel, no awaiting family members, only a blackness that reminded her of that night the week before when she’d left her husband for good as he lay sleeping on the couch where he pretended to do penance. She knew better. He was still seeing the choir director, whose angelic voice sounded not so different than the one she heard now.

The tingling increased, followed by a muffled voice she hoped was her Grandma Fae who made the best brownies she’d ever eaten. No one could duplicate the recipe, which could mean only one thing: Grandma Fae had taken her secret ingredient with her to the grave.

Her mouth watering, Maddie tried again to see, the blackness clearing to brown soup. The tingling turned to pain, the muffled voice distinctly male, and the angelic voice belonged to Jennifer Hudson, courtesy a stray ear bud dangling in front of Maddie’s face. There was the chest that had shoved her, not to another life, but to the sidewalk, where her skull had bashed into the cement causing the black-out and current gushing of blood covering her eyes.

The headless man, whose neck up was inside the fog, fiddled with his smart phone, likely calling 9-1-1. At least she hoped that’s what he was doing since he hadn’t snatched her bag still clutched in her hand. With his free hand, the man wiped her eyes with a tissue, enabling her to see him better, or at least his bottom half.

He wore grey designer slacks, almost matching the color of the fog. It’s no wonder she hadn’t seen him before they collided. She couldn’t fault him for his wardrobe choice since she, too, had worn gray that day. A grey skirt and grey tights and grey Uggs. The grey overkill had nearly killed her.

Ringing ears aside, she began to make sense of his words, “Stay down, don’t move, help is on the way.” He kept repeating it like lyrics in a bad pop song. Why would she move when she had him to bring her back to conciousness, to the very light of day? His thighs were strong, his pants tight enough to show off his athletic build. They left nothing to the imagination.

Oh, God. He hadn’t wiped her eyes with a tissue at all, but with his white dress shirt. Her blood was covering the poor guy from wrist to elbow!

Squeamish at the sight of blood, especially her own, she nearly passed out again, still strangely longing for Grandma Fae’s brownies.

“Stay down, don’t move, help is on the way.”

Headless Man did something that kept her from switching off the lights. He squeezed her hand. Softly at first, then firmer. Softer again. His thumb caressed the top of her hand, in small circles. God, his hand was warm. Her husband had always said hers were so cold that he hadn’t wanted to be touched at all. At least that was his excuse. And yet when Maddie had gone to visit Choir Director the day after Revelation, she lied and said she wanted to make peace and offered her hand to shake. To her surprise, Choir Director’s hands were cold, too. She would tick off the other possible reasons for his betrayal another day, but “cold hands” wasn’t it.

She tugged at the stranger’s hand, causing him to plead with her not to get up until help arrived, but that wasn’t what she’d meant at all. This time she used both hands and pulled Headless man from the fog, nearly causing him to fall on top of her, but he’d caught himself with his hands.

Catching her breath, Maddie swallowed hard, staring into his blue eyes as he smiled down at her, nose to nose.

“Are you going to hit me? You have every right,” he said.

“Right? What are you, a lawyer?”

“I am.”

“I am who?”

“I am the clumsy jerk lawyer who runs over a pretty girl on the foggiest day of the year.”

She laughed. “I meant, what’s your name, clumsy lawyer?”

“Tony Hoffman.”

“Ordinarily I’d say, ‘pleased to meet you,’ but in this case…”

“I don’t blame you. Do you hear that? Sirens.”

“Wait. Don’t tell me: stay down, don’t move, help is on the way.”

“So you could hear me.”

“Like a broken record. But I think I’m going to live.”

“Thank God for that. But we’re going to get you checked out all the same.” His voice was thick with sincerity, causing her heart to sting in a good way.

“Don’t worry. I won’t sue,” she said with a grin. “What kind of lawyer are you?”

He frowned. “Divorce. Hate me even more?”

She laughed too hard to answer as the legs of the paramedics approached with a gurney seemingly wheeled on its own.

“What’s so funny?” Tony asked.

“I was on my way to meet my friend for coffee so she could give me the name of her divorce attorney. I just never expected I’d run into one on the way.”

He smiled. “This takes ambulance chasing to a whole new level. I don’t typically bloody my clients. But if you’ll have me, I’ll offer my services for free. I feel it’s only fair.”

“A clumsy, fair, very handsome lawyer. Maybe I have gone to heaven. If you’re as tough on my husband as you were on me, you’re hired.”

“Pro-bono.”

“Fine. I accept.” The paramedics knelt down and put her in a neck brace and carefully lifted her onto the gurney, back into the gray abyss.

For a moment she thought she’d lost him for good until his warm hand pressed into hers again, this time with a business card. He squeezed her hand and whispered into her ear. “I am truly sorry I hurt you.”

Words her husband had never said.

She overheard Tony asking the paramedics which hospital they were taking her to, that he’d be close behind.

A short ride later, as they wheeled her into the ER, the fog began to lift.

***

For full works by Malena Lott, visit my Amazon page. My short story collection Hope Floats is FREE this Valentine weekend.