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Archive for December, 2013

Life Check: Robin Marvel

Balance Your Life in 2014

robin marvel_lifecheckA new year is on the horizon. Many of us use this time to reevaluate our lives and set new goals for the clean slate ahead of us. 2014 is no different. Looking at the 365 days coming our way, we have a choice.

Choices – we all have them. We can choose to let our past and the negative experiences in our life keep us from living an optimum life or … we can choose to move on and live an empowered life. Robin Marvel, author of LIFE CHECK – 7 STEPS TO BALANCE YOUR LIFE! chose the later. Situations in her childhood would have kept many of us locked into dysfunctional patterns, crippling our adult lives. Robin acknowledges that her young adult life had some unwise choices. She could have remained there, repeating the cycles and struggling through life. She chose not to. Robin chose to recreate her life, a life of empowerment, courage and strength.

She chose a different path than what she had been shown as a child. Robin is now the author of five books and is a popular motivational speaker. Her latest book, Life Check – 7 Steps to Balance Your Life!, was nominated for two awards in 2013; the 97th Annual Society of Midland Book Award, and the 2013 Pushcart Book Award. Robin’s other books are: Reshaping Reality: Creating Your Life, Awakening Consciousness: A Girl’s Guide, Awakening Consciousness: A Boy’s Guide, and Awakening Consciousness: A Woman’s Guide.

Today, Robin joins Writer’s Zen as a guest, sharing an excerpt from her latest book, encouraging us to forgive and heal as one step in balancing our life. Let’s step into 2014 together, balancing our lives one step at a time.

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Leave Your Baggage~ Excerpt “Life Check-7 Steps to Balance Your Life!”

If you are like me, you have made some choices, big and small, that you’d rather not look at again, but it is important to face all aspects of who you are so you can forgive and heal. Healing is an inside job and it must start with you. One of the most important things you can do on your path to success is to forgive yourself and others. Forgiveness is by far one of the most powerful words in existence, and will change your life forever. Although it is not always the easiest task, it is imperative to move forward and experience emotional closure. The first thing to understand about forgiving is that it is not something you do for other people, it is something you do for yourself. It is allowing yourself to break free from the heaviness of anger and frustration. These negative emotions will eat at you physically, mentally and emotionally, taking away from your happiness. Start with forgiving yourself. After all, you cannot give what you don’t have, so if you are unable to forgive yourself, you will struggle with forgiving others. Everyone has a past. Some are neat and tidy while others are scarred with battle wounds. If your past is one with battle wounds you have proof that no matter what you faced, it has passed and you survived! Now you need to figure out if you are willing to embrace those scars and heal them, or cover them up with a fake smile and conformity. Only you can make this choice.

Life Check 2-1: Past is Present — How much of your present life are you losing to your past, to the person you use to be? Are you still blaming yourself for something you should have, could have done? Here is a challenge for you. Carry around a suitcase full of rocks. Each boulder symbolizes an emotion like shame, guilt, should have, could have—(insert your word here) and bring this heavy burden with you everywhere you go. There is no setting it down; you must carry it at all times. Don’t you think that would get exhausting? I know it would. So, why then do you insist on carrying the weight of your past like that? This is what you do when you hold on to guilt, remorse and anger for who you use to be, choices you use to make. Allowing yourself to be exhausted and defeated, struggling with the present all based on your actions in the past.

Life Check 2-2: Baggage Check — Evaluate how your past baggage is preventing you from moving forward. What do you need to release, make a list and start unpacking. You aren’t the only one. We all have this baggage that we think is necessary to keep with us, holding on to it, thinking that we are better people if we feel guilty about our past actions. When you tell yourself that you must be accountable for who you were then, it allows past emotions to manipulate the present. You are your biggest critic and can really give yourself a hard time. The fact of the matter is that we have all done crazy things and said things in the past that we wish we could take back, and that is part of living and growing. You do not get a “do-over” for the past, but you can make a choice in the present to let go of it. Forgiving yourself allows freedom from the emotional baggage, releasing the guilt and disappointment you have attached to those situations. Embrace your experiences, good and bad, and appreciate the growth they provided. Use your “get out of jail free” card and allow yourself peace of mind. Face it, you are not given a manual for living, and it can be easy to lose direction. These lessons were necessary to build your character, and to help build who you are in this moment. The fact is, you have tied so much emotion to the action you took or didn’t take that you are unable to let it go. Today, look at the situation and search for the lesson that was provided. Accept the lesson, accept your choice and move forward. Finding the strength to forgive yourself will remove the heaviness you carry with you. This allows you to live life with the happiness and peace that you deserve. Many years ago, when I was around twenty-two years old, I made the choice to go on a drinking binge, and I lost complete control of who I was. For four months I was not a very good mother or wife, because my focus was on drinking every night. I was repeating a pattern from my childhood. There were days when I didn’t even see my daughter, because I was sleeping all day to prepare for the night out. When I thought of these days, I used to feel disappointed in myself, it was very unfair to the people that I love the most in my life. It would be very easy for me to carry around the energy of my past and punish myself in the present, but I made the choice to forgive myself and to learn from the experience, allowing myself to live fully in the present. I have apologized to my husband, my daughter and to myself. I realize that I am human and I learned many lessons from that point in my life and I appreciate that. Be kind to yourself for your past choices, because they don’t define who you choose to be today.

Life Check 2-3: Learning from Mistakes — Give yourself a break. You are human and making mistakes is part of learning. So, relax and quit holding yourself hostage in your own mind. Look at past situations and search for the lesson that was provided to you. Accept the lesson, Accept your choice and Move Forward. Use what you have learned from your past to share with others facing the same situations. Encourage them by being an example that everything will be okay.

Who are you mad at? What is the one name that makes all the blood rush to your head? You probably know someone who infuriates you. This is someone, somewhere who has been rude to you and hurt you emotionally, mentally and/or physically, and you cannot imagine forgiving them. They have just caused way too much pain for you and must pay for it. You vow revenge and have lost a part of who you are to the hatred you feel. I recently did a workshop at a domestic violence shelter and started to share the topic of forgiveness, the way I am discussing it here. I was focusing on the importance of forgiving those who have wronged you no matter the extent, not for the other person but for yourself. Encouraging the idea that forgiving others allows you to take your power back and frees you from all the hurt associated with the situation. A woman who had been battered raised her hand and said, “I’ll never forgive my husband for what he did to me, Never.” I responded to her by sharing that the more anger you have, the longer you hold the hatred for him, the longer he holds your power. I told her that every time she gets mad, curses him and talks about how much she cannot forgive him, he wins—because in those moments he is in control of her emotions and she is giving away her power to him by feeling that same anger she felt in that moment he abused her. She got a look on her face and told me “I haven’t ever thought of that, it makes sense to me.” It was her “aha” moment. Now she can move forward in her life and be free from the emotions of her abusive husband. He lost some of his hold that day! Now it’ll take work, because she will have to look within and really forgive the situation but she is one step closer to freeing herself from his emotional hold. Continuing to carry a grudge and be angry at the person who wronged you is only hurting yourself. As the great Buddha said, “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.” I could not agree more. Each time you harbor that anger and resentment, you lose part of your happiness. Why would you willingly sacrifice one moment, giving your power away to someone who angers you? If they were so horrible to you, do not continue to feed their negativity. Be in charge of your emotions and give no one your power. I am in no way suggesting you forget what was done to you, all I am saying is that it is time to forgive and let it go, freeing yourself. When you make that decision, you will physically feel a weight lifted from your shoulders and the relief of taking your power back.

Follow Robin at: www.robinmarvel.com or find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robin.marvel1

Writer’s Affirmations: New Year

  • writing blank journal


  • I embrace the New Year filled with fresh writing opportunities and growth.
  • My writing flourishes in the New Year ahead.
  • Writing brings me pleasure and abundance.
  • I am enthusiastic about a successful year ahead.
  • In this New Year, I remain focused on my writing.
  • I complete projects.
  • I submit queries.
  • Characters, plots, and scenes flow into my consciousness.
  • Prolific and melodious words flow to my fingertips.
  • I eagerly step into the New Year.
  • My writing shines.
  • My writing provides is a source of plentiful income for me and my family.
  • I embrace my craft and its creativity.

affirmation-see endless opportunities

Fat and Sassy – New house, new baby, new life

Tuesday TalesIt’s TUESDAY TALES. This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘bells’.

In Fat and Sassy, the Jones’ moved back to California, despite the broken axle in New Mexico, and find themselves in a new home, one that they can call their own.

Return to TUESDAY TALES for more story snippets using ‘bells’.

christmas paper garland216 Leadora. Their new home. Bea and Casey wouldn’t move again for thirty years.

They got moved in and settled just in time for Mae to start to school. First grade. She was excited. She was scared. A lot had happened since the short time she’d attended kindergarten in California before. There’d been lots of moves and another baby sister added to the family.

Bea had conflicting feelings also about Mae going to school. Yes, one child was out of the house for part of the day, which should have been a source of relief. Yet, this child was the little caretaker of the younger ones, so now Bea had to keep track of the four younger children, and get the ironing done before the ladies stopped by to pick up their pressed clothes.

One night after she’d gotten all the children off the bed, Bea slipped inside beside Casey and gave him some unexpected news. “Yore gonna be a Daddy again.”

“Again! Maybe it will be another boy, then we’ll have three of each.”

Mae turned seven on November 10th. Twenty days later, on November 30th, her newest little brother, Evan Lee, entered the world. Now they were six, six Jones children, ages from newborn to seven years old.

With another little one in the family, Mae unofficially became the second mother. Bea started taking in laundry for extra money and needed more and more help with the children. Especially since as the kids got older, they were more active and not as confined to the small spaces babies occupy.

After the newest baby was born, Mae would run home after school. She’d stand over the basinet and talk to Evan Lee and make faces at him. One day she bounced in the house. She hurried over to the corner where the baby lay, talking to him and wiggling her fingers in front of his face. Turning to her mother stationed behind the ironing board, she asked, “Mama, we’re going to have a Christmas program at school this Friday. Can you come watch?”

“I can’t git to the school,” Bea replied. “Your brother is only three weeks old. Yore daddy is working. There’s no way I can walk to the school with all your brothers and sisters.”

Disappoint flashed across Mae’s face. “It’s going to be good. We’ve been practicing songs and everything. And we made chains of red and green colored paper and we get to bring them home afterwards, to decorate the house.”

“Do you have a part to say?”

“No. I don’t have any lines. The teacher wouldn’t give me anything to say. She says I don’t say all my words right. But I do get to ring some bells.”

“What does she mean that you don’t say words right?”

“She says I say warsh, but it’s really wash, that there’s no ‘r’. And she says I don’t say wabbit right.”

“I won’t be able to git to the program Ona Mae. But it looks like I’ll have to make a trip to the school when yore Daddy can drive me to have a little chat with yore teacher.”

Stay tuned … new features on the way!

stay tunedStay Tuned!

Writer’s Zen is bringing you two new features in 2014.

PROSE FROM THE PROS, a post with writing advice from the professionals, will post on the first of each month. Each month bring you advice on different topics. January 1st is our debut post, WRITING SUCCESS IN 2014. Successful, published authors share their tips for writing success. (Shhhh …. I’ve seen some of the advice already and I think you’ll like it. This advice, if followed, will benefit our writing and our careers. I’m not going to say any more – stay tuned and come back January 1st to read what professional authors advise.)

Writer’s Zen is adding guest posts for our readers. On December 27th, Robin Marvel will kick off this new feature with a guest post and an excerpt from her new release. Other popular authors, including C. Hope Clark and Barbara Sinor, along with others are scheduled for future posts. 2014 is going to be a great year!

Stay tuned for more fun!

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Fat and Sassy: Lemon Cake

Tuesday TalesWelcome to TUESDAY TALES! This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘check, or checked’.

In Fat and Sassy, my WIP, the Jones’ have moved back to southern California – again. They’ve finally settled down, without any moves for the past six years. The children are growing and the family is becoming a part of their small community as the base of the foothills.

Return to TUESDAY TALES for more snippets from developing books.



lemon cakeBea stood in the kitchen, holding cupboard doors open with each hand, surveying the shelves in search of ingredients.

Helen walked in, swishing her skirt around from side to side. “What’cha making, Mama? Are you going to make some green beans for supper after church tomorrow? I sure do like your green beans, Mama.”

“Why thank you. I’m glad you enjoy them. But, no, no green beans for tomorrow. We’re having a potluck at church tomorrow.”

“Goody! I like the potlucks at church. There’s always such good food. What are we taking?”

“I was thinking about making Aunt Melba’s lemon cake recipe,” Bea replied, closing the cupboard doors. “But we don’t have all the fixin’s.”

“What do we need? I can help you, Mama. I like to cook and bake. After all, I am nine years old now.” Helen pushed her brown locks behind her ears. “I’m going to be a really good cook one day. I’m going to cook every day. I’ll cook for my husband, and my kids, and even my grandkids one day.”

“I’m sure you will, Prissy. And I’m sure you’ll be a fine cook or baker. We need a lemon cake mix. We have the lemon flavored Jell-o and the powdered sugar.” Bea reached for her cookbook on the counter. “Wait, let me double check.”

She opened the cookbook up, rifling through pages looking for the envelope where she’d written Melba’s recipe on. She sure was glad that her brother, Sam, had married Melba. She was a fine woman and a good addition to the Goss family. “Aunt Melba shore can bake up a fine cake,” she said out loud, not particularly to Helen, just to the universe in general. “Oh dear, I forgot we need a lemon for the glaze. And eggs. We need four eggs too. Check the icebox and see how many eggs we have.”

Helen pranced to the corner where the ancient ice box sat. She looked inside. “Six eggs, Mama.”

“Go get my pocketbook and bring it to me, Prissy.”

When Helen returned with her mother’s pocketbook, Bea rummaged through it until she found her coin purse. Opening it up, she retrieved some coins, counting them into Helen’s small palm. “ … forty seven, forty eight, forty nine … fifty. Fifty cents – that should be more than enough. Run down to the market and get a box of lemon cake mix. Then, on the way home, stop at Mrs. Randolph’s and ask her if we can beg a lemon from her tree.”

“Okay, Mama. I’ll be right back. When I get back, can I help you bake it?”

“You shorely can.”

Helen left the room, repeating to herself, “lemon cake mix … one lemon … lemon cake mix … one lemon …”

Fat and Sassy: Back on the Road Again

Tuesday TalesToday is TUESDAY TALES! The story of Bea and Casey Jones continues with my current WIP, Fat and Sassy.

Bea and Casey have given Arkansas and Missouri a good try. Work hasn’t been any better. Casey’s brother-in-law wrote of a job opportunity in California. 1943 finds them back on the road, reversing the trip on Route 66 they just made a year ago.



April 1943

route 66They had to wait a few weeks for the weather to get warmer. With an older vehicle that you cannot totally trust, you do not head out for a cross country move in cold, or hot, extremes. The milder, more temperate climate of spring made for better traveling conditions. The spring of 1943, a year after they had moved to the Ozark hills, they were headed back west on Route 66. Their belongings had not changed. Only the number of children had increased.

“Seems like we just made this trip,” Bea said from her position as co-pilot in the passenger seat.

“Good thing there is plenty of food. Ike and Thelma stocked us up good for the trip.”

“They surely did,” Bea agreed.

They traveled along, Bea busy reading the road signs and stomping on the brakes that didn’t exist on her side of the car. The children were excited to be on the road again, seeing new sights, after being cooped up in a miniscule house for the winter.

The Chevy chugged along through the New Mexico landscape. Casey was almost hypnotized by the road with the wavy mirages floating above the asphalt highway. The children dozed, heads nodding and bobbing.

“Twelve miles to Albuquerque,” Bea announced.

Casey nodded, as if he were paying attention to her running commentary. A loud clang jerked him to attention as the car wobbled and shook. A screeching noise pierced the car’s interior and Bea covered her ears. Casey looked in the rear view mirror and saw a line of sparks flying up from behind the car. He held the wheel tight and eased the limping vehicle towards the shoulder of the road where it slowed to a stop in its last dying moments.

“What in tarnation was that?” Bea asked. Tom and Ida awoke and started bawling. The three older ones in back woke up also, although they appeared dazed and confused and at least weren’t crying.

“Sit tight, Mother, I’ll go see.” Casey walked around the car, bending and peering underneath the chassis at different areas. Bea watched his every move, her head swiveling to follow his progress. He returned with a grim look on his face.

“We broke an axle,” he reported.

Bea held two babies on her lap, rocking back and forth, trying to soothe them. “What are we going to do?”

“We’ll have to get the axle repaired, if we can. Or find a new one.”

“Ain’t no stations out here in the middle of nowhere.”

“No there isn’t. Luckily we’re almost to Albuquerque. How far did the last sign say we were from there?”

“Twelve miles. Aren’t you glad now that I pay attention to these things?”

“Yes I am. Twelve miles,” he paused, deep in thought. “Better’n fifty or a hunnred. I’ll have to take the axel into town. At least it’s a large enough town, it’ll be easy to find a repair shop.”

“How ya’ gonna get there?”

“I’ll have to walk. It’s a far piece, but I’ve a done it before. Gonna take me near most of the day. Prolly be dark before I get back, then I can fix it in the light of day tomorrow.”

“We have the money to get it fixed?”

“Don’t know. Guess’n I’ll find out when I get into town. Might use up the last of our gas money though. So, we may be a stayin’ in this part of the state until I figure out how to get enough cash to get us to California. Maybe we should of stayed in Misery.”

“Too late to think that now. Besides, life twasn’t doin’ us any better there.”

Casey ran his fingers through his hair, accenting the worry lines etches around his eyes. “Better get a move on. This thang ain’t gonna fix itself while I stand her flappin’ my jaws. Come on out, Mother. I need you and the chillin’s outta the car while I work on it.”


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