A Little Ordinary Miracle

2010-09-06 08.50.16I sat down, fingers poised to write the story about what happened last week. But then I remembered what I said at choir…

So we had this choir retreat–a long day of getting back together after a long summer break–and I raised my hand and said I wanted to tell a quick story, something that had just happened to me.

Now if you know me, you know I’m not very good at telling quick stories. I mean, I tend to have little asides and a big build-up, not to mention the occasional backstory. It’s a gift. Anyway, I told my story, and as I was heading back to my seat, I said, “Now, that’s a Chicken Soup for the Soul story!”

Yep, everyone agreed that it’d make a great Chicken Soup story. And then I forgot about the story till just this minute when I thought about sharing it with you. When bam! The Chicken Soup memory came to me and a little voice said, “Maybe you should check the website, just in case.”

I haven’t sent anything in to Chicken Soup in forever, and the last story I sent in hasn’t gone anywhere. But hope springs eternal and all that so I checked out the Possible Topics page and saw this:

Miracles and More 
When Good Things Happen to Good People
All of us have experienced events in our lives that are completely unexplainable: the strange premonition that made you take a different route home only, causing you to miss an accident; the eerie feeling that you should call home… now, saving someone’s life; the mysterious communication from a loved one who has passed on. Angels, divine timing, miraculous coincidences, answered prayers, premonitions that come true. Good things do happen to good people. Please share your unbelievable and amazing stories about the unexplainable events that have occurred to you. Share the awe, the faith, and the wonder with our readers. The deadline date for story and poem submissions is August 31, 2017.

Okay, whoa. My story was one of those completely inexplicable things, an unbelievable story or miraculous coincidence if you will. So I’m afraid I won’t be sharing it here with you today. I’ve got to write it up and send it in to Chicken Soup. You saw that deadline date.

And this whole thing right here? A last minute checking of the Chicken Soup website and seeing exactly the topic I needed? It could almost be a “Miracles and More” story, too. 

Just sayin’. The world’s one miracle after another, if you know where to look.

(And P.S. Maybe you have one, too. Send it in!)

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December: The Start of Something Big

DSCN5786December seemed like the perfect time to share this quote often attributed to Picasso (but probably wrongly so. Still, it’s a fine quote, whoever said it.):

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.

When it comes to writing, I suspect that I’m better at helping others bring out their gift than I am at my own work. And now that I’m a bit older and possibly wiser, I’m pretty okay with that.

When my daughter’s story was selected for Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Angels and Miracles, I was thrilled for her! And recently, she was interviewed about her story for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. She made a point of mentioning that her mother was a writer and that I’d helped her polish her story and encouraged her to send it in–and she was disappointed when none of that part of the interview was included. But that’s the way it often is when writers lend a helping pen. We don’t help others tell their story for the glory; we help because there’s a joy in seeing a writer succeed, whether it’s one story that needs to be told or the beginning of a long and successful career.

There’s purpose there, in the giving away. And a purpose here is that I shared something over at the Muffin this weekend that you might’ve missed. It’s just a little bit of writing advice but maybe it’ll be the start of something BIG for you and your writing!

Chicken Soup Tips (The Books, Not the Food)

IMG_6754You know that old saying about March roaring in like a lion?

So, yeah, there’s been some crazy roaring over here, but I did have a moment–with a lot of help from a pair of writing buddies–to share tips on getting your story in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book over at the Muffin. I call it, “How To Get Your Story in a Chicken Soup for the Soul Book.”

Catchy, right? But seriously, Sioux and Linda had some great advice, and why not? They’re experts in this genre of writing. You only need to follow their blogs to get a glimpse into their style and voice (but I’d pick up a couple of their Chicken Soup books if you want to really see how pros do it. Um…write, that is.)

Everybody has a Chicken Soup story in them but not everyone gets their story published. The competition is fierce! But if you keep at it–and especially, if you follow these great tips–you will succeed. And I hope you’ll let me know when you do succeed.

As for me, I’m fixin’ to roar off to our regional SCBWI Conference and a wedding and an authors’ reception and…whew. When’s that March lamb thing supposed to kick in?

Dreams of the Dying

So I read an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution about the dreams of the dying and I thought about Dad.

Dad close upDad died a month ago, but for a few months preceding his death, we talked about dreams and otherworldly stuff.

He dreamed about his mother and a picnic and he asked me what I thought the dream meant. And I asked–as I always ask when interpreting dreams–how did you feel in the dream?

In the dream, he felt happy, contented. But upon waking, he was fearful. He thought the dream was about death. Specifically, his death. I rolled my eyes at his overly dramatic assumption, though if I’m being honest, I, too, felt it might have been his mother telling him to get ready. I didn’t want him worrying and fearful, though, so I made light of it.

And then in November, there was that song he kept thinking of–In The Garden–and you know I shared the synchronicity of that event and how, once again, I felt Mom was sending him and me a message.

So when I read the AJC article, it wasn’t news to me. I knew Dad’s own psyche and his many loved ones, had tried to prepare him for what was to come. I’m not sure I was as prepared.

I mean, I’m certain that at long last, he’s with my mom again, and that truly makes me happy. But I’m feeling a tad sorry for myself and missing him terribly.

And so I work. I worked up something for the Chicken Soup for the Soul book on synchronicity and if you have a similar story, I hope you’ll write about it, too. Not because getting in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book is awesome (though it is pretty cool) but because, sometimes, writing those stories can lift the clouds that envelop one’s soul in those darkest moments.

And a sweet dream would be nice, too.

Friday’s Fun Find: A Positively Swell Winner!

ImageI laughed when Mr. Randomizer (over at Random.Org) spat out the name for the Booooook Giveaway. And not because the winner is funny (She is, actually, very funny!) or even because she’s funny-looking (She’s not too funny-looking. I mean, um…she’s not funny-looking at all.)

I laughed because she has more than a couple kids who’ll enjoy reading Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Think Positive for Kids. And that she’ll read it, too, because she’s a writer who’s always reading to get a leg up on a market. But mostly, I laughed because of ALL the names in the comments, from places ALL over this wonderful world, the winner lives down the road from me. And now, I don’t have to pay any postage.

Wheeeeeee! I just love Fun Fridays!

(If your name is not Debra Mayhew, then you might want to check out Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Think Positive for Kids here. It’s really a fun read, but more than that, it’ll positively make the kid in your life’s day!)