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#PimpMyBio: PitchWars 2017

I wasn’t sure that I was going to do this. Talking about myself is probably  my least favorite thing to do, but if I’ve learned anything thus far on my journey to being published, it’s that you have to put yourself out there. So, despite my fears, I forced myself to become more active on Twitter and I started a blog. I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the amazing community of people I’d find. Writers helping writers, giving their precious time to help, support, and give advice. Discovering and participating in various writing contests has both improved my writing and my confidence. If you’d like to learn more about the amazing opportunity that is PitchWars, you can do that here.  If you’d like to continue to learn a little more about me, please read on.

Excuse me while a take a deep breath.

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Okay. Here we go…..

First and foremost, the greatest job I’ve ever had is being a mother and a wife. My one true love has gifted me with two beautiful children; Justin, 17 and Samantha, 13. To date seeing the amazing young adults that they are turning into is my greatest accomplishment. As far as earning a living, I’ve done a few different things over the years from retail to court reporting. Yes, once upon a time I was a stenographer. You know, the person that sits in a courtroom or a deposition and takes down everything everyone says. Unfortunately, that job wasn’t the right fit for me which leads me to my current job in the medical field as a Medical Office Specialist. That is my 9 to 5. I love my job, love my doctors, the patients, my co-workers. But as much as I love it, it is not my passion. Writing is my passion and although I may have found it later in life than I would’ve liked, I don’t — and won’t — let that stop me.

My passion for writing came from my passion for reading. I love to read, always have and always will. I am a sucker for romance and happily ever afters, so naturally that is what I’m drawn to writing. It started with Danielle Steele in my teenage years and Nicholas Sparks as I got older. I love everything Sandra Brown.  Jojo Moyes is amazing and her Me Before You is one of the three books that actually made me ugly cry, the other two being The Last Song  and Two by Two, both by Nicholas Sparks. Kerri Lonsdale and Jodi Holford are new favorites of mine. Recently, I was blown away by J.P. Monniger’s debut novel, The Map That Leads to You. My guilty pleasure is erotica. Yes, I’ve read Fifty Shades…all of them….more times than I can count and I loved them, every time. Sylvia Day is another favorite. Her Crossfire series was addicting! I try to read 2-3 books a week, though some weeks I fall short.

Another thing you need to know about me is that I’m a huge Jamie Dornan fan. I mean, come on, he’s totally gorgeous, talented, and humble. He is the epitomy of a family man and the love he has for his wife is clearly written all over his face.

Baking is another passion that I sadly don’t have much time for anymore. My oreo-filled cupcakes and cake pops are always on request anytime there’s a potluck at work. I guess when it comes down to it, I just love to create things that make people happy, whether that be through food or my words.

So, that brings us to the portion of this blog post where I tell you about my MS. The premise of my book is broken promises. Everyday we all make promises to the ones we love. Promises we make with every intention of carrying out. The reality is that sometimes life happens and forces us to break the promises we always intended to keep. But what happens when life steps in and steals the ones you love? Forcing them to break the promises they made to you? Can you ever trust love again? Is it worth the risk of pain to put your heart on the line? When two strangers meet on a cruise — one carrying out her late husband’s last wish, the other still grieving the loss of his wife — all those questions will be answered. In Broken Promises: The Last Gift Isabelle and Ian will find out if love is greater than grief.

If you like what you’ve read, then I hope you’ll follow me on twitter. @meeschy is my Twitter handle.

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Happy Mother’s Day

The definition of mother according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary is:

Definition of mother

1.     a : a female parent • She’s the mother of three small children.

b (1) : a woman in authority; specifically : the superior of a religious community of women • Mother Theresa (2) : an old or elderly woman •Mother Hubbard

This seems like such a simple black and white definition of a word that has so much more meaning. The words that come to mind when I think of my mother are:  loving, kind, generous, strong, beautiful, wise, creative, passionate.

I recognize the fact that I am blessed to be able to feel this way and have the relationship that I have with my mom. She’s my best friend. Not everyone has that. It is a gift I cherish.

I was lucky enough to be raised in a loving home with loving parents. I was blessed to have a strong woman to look up to. My mom was — and still is — the hardest working woman I know. She is an incredible nurse who touches the lives of her patients daily. As Diane Von Furstenberg said, “I didn’t always know what I wanted to do, but I always knew the woman I wanted to be.”  This rings true for me and even if I’m only half of the woman that my mother is, that would be a great accomplishment. They are big shoes to fill.

She is my mother, my friend, my biggest fan. She is the worlds greatest grammie and loves all her grandkids something fierce. She is the woman who taught me that there is no such word as “can’t.” She is the reason I pick myself up and dust myself off after each defeat. The reason I trudge along trying to accomplish my dreams.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!!! I love you more than words could ever say!

Oh, How Time Flies…..

Five years ago this coming June an event occurred that has had a major impact on my life. My cousin, Mallory, moved from New Jersey to Florida to go to college. There is a significant age difference between us..I’m actually old enough where I could probably be her mother. She was actually one of the flower girls in my wedding. See. Wasn’t she so cute?

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Like I said, there’s a big age difference. While she was growing up, I was getting married and starting a family. So, we didn’t really hang out like most cousins the same age do. Her moving to Florida gave us an opportunity to spend more time together and get to know each other in a different way.

We’ve had some pretty amazing times and I will cherish each memory created. From the concerts to the sleepovers with late night talks to the game nights. She is an amazing young woman who I am so proud to call my cousin, but even more proud to call my friend…one of my best friends. She has not only been there for me, but for my kids too.

I also had the honor of watching her bloom as one of my co-workers. She entered the medical field and proved to everyone what an amazing, capable young woman she is. She started a job in a field she never worked in before and killed it. Making friends and touching the lives of everyone she came into contact with.

The thing that has brought us so close is our love of reading and my writing. Mallory is my person. She is the first person to read everything I write — with the exception of this post. She has been a critical part of my writing process and I don’t think I’d be as confident to put myself out there if it wasn’t for her support. I’ve found myself through my writing and her support has been a big part of that. There doesn’t seem to be enough words, even for a writer, to express how much I will be forever grateful for the connection we have.

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When I got married almost nineteen years ago I never would  have imagined that the little flower girl who didn’t want to pose for pictures at the church and who cheered her father on after his reading would wind up being one of the most important people in my life. This amazing young woman is graduating this Friday and her journey is taking her out of the Sunshine State. I knew when she moved down here that she wouldn’t be living here forever but as the years rolled by I got so accustomed to her being here that the thought that one day she’d move on kind of floated to the back of my mind. As sad as I am to see her go, my heart is full of pride and happiness because I know that life has great things in store for her. I pray that she continues on her journey and follows her dreams. I will miss her more than words could ever say. I love you Mallory Sue. Always and forever. Always family. Always friends.

 

Broken

She wears her pain like an accessory,

blending in so well you can barely see her misery.

She appears all put together, even though she’s broken apart.

It’s hard to see that someone stole the sleeve where she wore her heart.

She wore it there freely, her love an endless supply.

Until someone broke her down with betrayal and lies.

Anger and bitterness are her new secret friends.

To them she swears she’ll never love again.

She’s tired of hearing that time heals all wounds.

She smiles even though she wants to shout, “Did someone dig out your heart with a spoon?”

She may forgive, but she’ll never forget

Her pain makes her stronger, on that you can bet.

The Other Guy

The sun peaks through the curtains, its rays covering them like a warm blanket. Her strawberry blonde hair sparkles beneath the beams of light, making him want to run his fingers through her silky soft strands. He stows his itching fingers because he doesn’t want to break the spell that is this magical morning. Instead, he drinks in each second before she wakes, because he knows that once she does it will be back to reality. She will kiss him goodbye, say that she’ll see him soon, and he’ll go back to missing her. Missing her so much it feels like a piece of him is missing. It wasn’t until the last time she left that he realized that “missing piece” was his heart. She takes it with her every time she leaves to go back to her husband.

As much as he loves waking up to this little lady in his arms, he wishes he could rewind to last night and press the pause button. He knows he should be grateful that she’s given him two full days, but he wants more. More time. More kisses. More of her. More is a luxury that he knows he doesn’t have and that momentarily fills him with rage. A barrage of thoughts attack him all at once. Hold on there, cowboy. You knew what you were getting into when you asked her to dance. When you held her so close that not even air could fit between you. When you slipped your number in her back pocket. What did you think was going to happen?

Shame and guilt make their unwelcome appearance as he recalls the fight he had with his older brother when he asked him to make himself scarce for the weekend. Jake was his best friend and confidant, he would do anything for him, but he made sure to let Luke know that he did not approve of his “relationship” with Emma. “You know mama is probably rolling in her grave right now, right? She didn’t raise us to be cheaters. She’s married, Luke. Married. She belongs to another man. She’s making a fool of you. She’s never going to leave him,” he said as he grabbed his Stetson off the hook by the door. Before he turned to leave he glanced back and gave him that look. Even when Jake was disappointed in him he never could hide the love he felt for his little brother. However, it was the look of disappointment hiding behind that love that was like a kick to Luke’s gut. He wanted to yell that she wasn’t making a fool of him, he knew what he was doing. He wanted to tell his brother that he loved her. That she was the one. But he didn’t get the chance because Jake was out the door before Luke could form the words.

Luke recognized that his hesitation to defend himself and Emma was because deep down he knew Jake was right. He knew that everything about the current situation he found himself in was wrong, but damn it all to hell if he couldn’t help himself. From the moment he had laid eyes on her he knew he was a goner. He never could resist a damsel in distress. That was the cowboy in him. He blamed his mom for making him watch all those damned romance films she loved so much. He wished he could be a hard ass like his father and his brother, but he took more after his mother. She was a gentle soul with a capacity to love that was infinite.

Despite the fact that Emma was the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes on, her beauty wasn’t the first thing he noticed. She wore an aura of sadness and loneliness that no woman who was that beautiful should have hanging around her. He could tell by the way she walked into the bar that her confidence had taken a beating. In that moment the only thing he could think of was that he wanted her to see herself through his eyes. He wanted to mend the broken heart she so clearly wore on her sleeve. That didn’t change when she flashed her ring at him, even though it went against everything he believed in and all the values his parents had drilled into him. In that moment he ignored the voice in his head telling him to walk away — a voice that sounded way too much like his mama’s. Which brings him to the present. Six months later, spooning the love of his life. A woman he knows he can’t keep. A woman who belongs to another man. A woman who he knows he has to let go. That’s why he wished he had a remote that could freeze time. Today was the day he had to let her go.

Knowing that he could no longer delay the inevitable, he kissed the back of her head and ran his fingers through her hair. He sighed, thinking, this will probably be the last time I get to do this. His touch chased away the hold the Sandman had on her and she stirred. The sweet, little moan she made at his touch was like a knife to his heart. He was going to miss those sounds. He was going to miss everything about her. As panic started to climb its way from his toes to his chest, threatnening to steal the air from his lungs, she turned and faced him. She leaned in and placed a sweet kiss on his lips. “Good morning, handsome,” she said in her sexy, raspy morning voice. He was internally cataloging every little thing he loved about her. It was torture, but he didn’t want to forget a thing. He knew that he was never going to give his heart to another woman, so these little memories would have to be enough to keep him warm on those cold, lonely nights.

“Good morning, darlin’,” he drawled, “Sleep well?”

“I always do with you.”

“You hungry? I could make us some breakfast,” he offered, wanting to stretch out this morning as long as he possibly could. His heart sank when she shook her head no.

“I really should be going. Brad is expecting me home this morning.”

Brad. God how he hated that name. He doubted that he’d be expecting her. That was more wishful thinking on her part, than truth. He barely paid her any attention. He didn’t understand what she saw in him. He swore that if he’d ever laid eyes on him that he’d lay him out. He hated the fact that Brad didn’t appreciate what he had. He took her for granted every single day. Made her feel invisible. If Emma was his, he’d tell her every chance he got how much she meant to him. If he had the chance, he would make it his life’s mission to make sure she never felt invisible ever again. But she wasn’t his, not really. Not in the way he wanted her to be.

He watched her as she got out of bed, taking the sheet with her. She picked her clothes up off the floor and then disappeared behind the bathroom door. He heard the shower start and it took all of his willpower not to get up and join her. Instead, he propped his hands behind his neck and stared up at the ceiling. He prayed for strength. Strength to find the words that wouldn’t hurt her. Strength to do what he knew he had to. Twenty minutes later she came walking out of the bathroom, smelling like jasmine and vanilla and Emma. It was his new favorite scent and he was going to miss it. A lump formed in his throat as she sat on the bed next to him and leaned in for a kiss. Our last kiss. He couldn’t stop the rogue tear that escaped him.

“So, I’ll call you in a few days, okay?

He took her hands in his and it was then that she noticed his tears.

“Luke?”

He just stared at her, unable to speak.

“No. No. Please, no. You can’t say it’s over. I need you.”

“Do you? If you really needed me, the way I need you, then you’d tell him that you’ve fallen in love with another man. I’m so sorry, Emma. I can’t keep doing this. Each time we’re together it gets harder and harder to say goodbye. I knew what I was getting into when I started this, but I didn’t know how hard I’d fall in love with you. I can’t be the other guy any more. It hurts too much. As much as I hate sending you back to a man who doesn’t appreciate what he has, I have to. This isn’t fair to him. It isn’t fair to any of us.”

“So you just woke up this morning and discovered you had a conscience?”

His silence seemed to confirm her fears and she lashed out, “Oh, I get it. You knew this whole weekend that you were going to call it quits, didn’t you? You figured you’d get one more roll in the hay before you sent me packing, is that it?”

“You know that’s not it. I’ve told you how I feel about you. I’m in love with you! Head over heels in love with you! I tried to convince myself that the time we have, the brief stolen moments, would be enough but they’re not. I want you all to myself. I want you to be mine, forever. I want to build a life with you, but I refuse to build a life that I have to share with another man. You have ruined me for any other woman. I’m saying goodbye to you knowing that I’m going to spend the rest of my life regretting it. Letting you go knowing that I will spend the rest of my life alone.”

The look on her face nearly broke him as he pulled her into his chest. He held her as she sobbed. This time he let his tears flow freely, probably because she couldn’t see him. He hated to appear anything but strong in her eyes. After what seemed like an eternity her sobs softened and she spoke. “I’m so sorry. I never thought that I’d be in love with two men. I hate myself for hurting you. I wish it was as simple as just following my heart. How do you do that when your heart belongs to two men? I don’t know what to do. Tell me. Tell me to choose you and I will.”

“You don’t know how much I wish I could, but we both know that’s a decision you need to make. As much as I want to, I can’t make it for you.”

“I wish I could say what I know you want to hear, but I can’t right now.”

“I know. That’s why I’m going to make it easy for you and be the one to say goodbye. Just promise me one thing first. Promise me that if you decide to stay with him that you’ll make him see your worth. You deserve to be seen and appreciated for the amazing woman you are. If you find that he can’t, or won’t, then promise me you’ll tell him goodbye and come back to me.”

“I promise.”

He chokes back a sob and leans in, one last time, and kisses her like his life depends on it. He cups her face with his strong hands and leans his forehead against hers. “I must be crazy for letting you go. Goodbye, darlin’.”

“Goodbye, Luke.”

 

 

Torn

Loneliness. It drives people to do the craziest things. Things they normally wouldn’t do. Things they often become ashamed of, but when they realize what they’ve done, it’s too late. When loneliness pushes you over to the dark side, it’s only a matter of time before your life starts spiraling out of control.

Upon first glance, you’d never be able to tell that she succumbed to the loneliness; that it could make her do something she swore she never would. One look at her and you’d see a beautiful, strong, happy woman. She was all smiles and laughter on the outside, but her eyes are what give her away. If anyone bothered to take a closer look, it was right there for the world to see. The problem is that most people couldn’t be bothered, but he wasn’t most people. He saw through her façade of a perfect life and noticed the bone crushing despair that had found itself a home deep inside her. For most people it was much easier, and more convenient, to believe the fake smile she plastered across her face, than to take the time to really see her pain. But he was different. He saw it right away and only wanted to ease her pain. He didn’t care about the ring on her finger.

The worst kind of loneliness, she had come to find out, was the kind you felt when you weren’t alone at all. That’s probably why things happened the way they did. Why she let one harmless encounter turn into something so much more. Once she got a taste of the intimacy her life was so desperately lacking, she couldn’t stop herself from wanting more. It didn’t matter that it was coming from the wrong man or that she was still in love with the man she had vowed to be faithful to. She was hooked. Like a junky always looking for the next fix, she’d creep into the darkness of the night and straight into the arms of a man who was not her husband. As she laid in the arms of that man – the man who made her feel whole again, whose touch erased the pain of a struggling marriage — she realized she was in love with two men. As dawn was quickly approaching, bringing with it the threat of a new day and the realization that she had to leave him again, she thought back to that night. The night it all began. It was only supposed to be a ladies’ night out, but it turned out to be a night that changed the course of her life.

Emma couldn’t remember the last time she’d gone out with her friends. It had been at least six months that she could recall. She had a hard enough time keeping up appearances at work, that the thought of going out and having to pretend her life was this picture-perfect dream world was exhausting. She had given excuse after excuse to her friends over the last six months and this time they weren’t taking no for an answer. It was Jenna’s turn to pick so that meant a night of line dancing and drinking, and, of course, she had to pick the one place that held the most memories for Emma. It was where they had their first date and she hadn’t been there without him, ever.

She had been dreading it all day, but as she started to get ready a little spark of excitement started to bubble up within her. She never got “done up” anymore these days, because she found it a waste of time that only ended up making her feel worse and more invisible than she already felt. She knew deep down that she should do it for herself, but she always ended up incredibly disappointed when her husband didn’t notice her efforts. He didn’t notice much of anything anymore and therein lied her biggest problem. He was so wrapped up in himself, in his pain and disappointment in life, that he was slowly letting her slip away. There were rarely comments given any more about how great she looked, or innocent touches that made her go weak in the knees. She longed for the days of goodnight kisses that lead to so much more, or the look in his eyes that let her know, without a doubt, that she was his forever. All that was slowly slipping away and she was beginning to feel that maybe it was gone forever.

Each time she tried and failed to get his attention it hurt worse, but like a glutton for punishment, she always kept trying. So tonight she decided to go all out. She put on her favorite jeans, the ones that hugged every sultry curve and a flannel shirt that she tied in a knot exposing just enough of her stomach to be sexy. She slipped on the boots that he surprised her with on their very first date and topped it off with the cowboy hat that he loved. She spritzed on his favorite perfume – a bottle she hadn’t touched in months. She smiled to herself as she applied the finishing touches, smoky eyes and lips painted in his favorite shade of pink. If this night panned out like she was praying it would, she wouldn’t even make it to the front door. All he had to do was say the word and she’d gladly stand up her friends – they’d get over it.

She nervously descended the stairs and found him sitting on the couch, the remote in one hand and a beer in the other. She made her way across the living room into the kitchen. She grabbed her purse off of the kitchen counter where she left it when she came home from work. She rustled her keys, hoping to catch his attention but got no response. “Tonight’s that ladies’ night thing with Jenna and the girls,” she yelled out.

“Mm-hmm. Have fun,” he answered in between sips. He raised his hand that was holding his beer in a half-assed attempt to acknowledge her, but he never turned around. His response was discouraging but she didn’t give up. “I can make you something to eat before I go if you want?”

“Nah. I’m good,” he said as he raised his hand with the beer again, indicating he had all he needed already.

“Are you sure? I don’t mind.”

“I said I’m good.”

Feeling defeated and stupid for trying, again, she picked up her keys and headed for the garage. She could have easily gone in the living room and stood in front of the t.v. to get his attention, but she wasn’t going to beg like a needy dog. There was no way in hell she’d be reduced to that…again. She slammed the door closed, more for her benefit than his, because she was certain that he barely even noticed.

By the time she got to the bar she was equal parts pissed and humiliated. What kind of man doesn’t even get up off the couch to kiss his wife goodbye? Or try to entice her to stay in for the evening? What kind of man doesn’t even care to catch a glimpse of the woman he loves before she heads out for the night? She felt invisible and she doubted that a night out with the girls was going to fix that, but she was already there and with not much to go home to she decided “what the hell.” She got out of the car and made her way inside to what used to be her favorite place. It was their place. The spot of their very first date had turned into a standing weekly date night that she had always looked forward to. She felt sad as she stopped to think when the last time they’d been here was and she couldn’t. It had been that long.

She held her breath as she opened the door, wondering if it, too, had undergone as many changes as her life had. The Rusty Nail, as if knowing she couldn’t take one more disappointing change, was exactly the same as the last time she’d been there. Neon lights advertising all the different kinds of beer they served shone brightly above the bar. The familiar pub tables and chairs still surrounded the huge dance floor, filled with patrons boot scootin’ boogieing. The scent of Stetson and cigarette smoke filtered through the air, bringing memories to the surface that were now painful reminders of the life she once had. She was the last of her friends to arrive and they were already two or three drinks ahead of her. They all squealed with delight as she made her way to the table.

“Well, as I live and breathe, I was positive you’d find some excuse to stand us up, sugar! It’s good to see you,” Felicia yelled out over the music.

“She’s here now, so that’s all that matters. Here, you need to catch up,” Jenna said as she shoved a shot glass in her face. She took the glass, held it up to toast her friends and said, “Bottoms up!” They all cheered as they downed their own shots and then Jenna grabbed her by the hand and headed for the dance floor. She was a little rusty at first, but in no time at all she was keeping up with the best of them. She was laughing and smiling and having the best time she could remember having in a very long time. After the third or fourth dance she excused herself to go get a drink. She made her way up to the bar and ordered a Crown and Sprite. She left her card with the bartender for her tab, grabbed her drink, and then quickly turned and walked right into a wall of rock hard chest, her drink spilling nicely down the front of the tall drink of water now standing before her.

“Oh my God! I am so sorry!” she cried out.

“No worries, little lady,” he said as grabbed a napkin off the bar.

“I am such a klutz. Sorry about your shirt.”

“Don’t be. It’s just a shirt. No use gettin’ all upset over a spilled drink.” He took the now empty glass from her and handed it to the bartender, “The little lady will have another one of these. Put it on my tab.”

“Oh, no. I can’t let you buy me a drink. I should offer to buy you a drink or at least pay your cleaning bill for that shirt.”

“That won’t be necessary,” he said as he handed her another drink, “The only form of payment I’ll take is a dance.”

“I can’t,” she said as she held up her left hand and wiggled her ring finger.

His response was an unbelievable sexy grin. One that said, “Yeah, I see, but I don’t care.”

“It’s just one dance. Besides you can’t expect me to go back over to my friends with my tail between my legs, not after you spilled your drink all over me. Come on, darlin’, help a guy out.”

As if on cue, the lights lowered and the DJ played a slow song. A man was singing about ‘doing something right’ and when he flashed that sexy grin at her again, she couldn’t make herself say no. She took his proffered hand and followed him as he led her to the dance floor. When he found an empty spot, he pulled her in real close…too close…but damn if it didn’t feel good…too good. He held her close and looked deep in her eyes as they swayed to the music. She tried to break their eye contact, but she couldn’t. There was something about the way he was looking at her that held her captive. She knew the minute she took his hand that she’d made a huge mistake, but once she started she couldn’t stop. It had been so long since anyone held her hand or looked into her eyes. For the first time in a very long time she felt like a woman again. A beautiful woman. A desirable woman.

She had spent so long feeling invisible, that she decided it was okay to let herself feel these things for what would amount to only a few minutes out of her life. She thought she deserved to feel desirable again, if only for a little while. What harm could it do? It’s not like she was ever going to see this guy again. Then he did something she wasn’t expecting. The song came to an end and he slipped his hand into the back pocket of her jeans and gave her a little squeeze. She was so surprised by this move that it took her a second to realize that he slipped something into her back pocket. She furrowed her brow trying to figure out what it was when he leaned in and whispered, “If you decide you want a man who really sees you, who can appreciate all you have to offer, call me.”

He gave her a kiss on the cheek and then returned to his friends. He kept his distance for the rest of the night, but she could feel him watching her, and much to her chagrin, she liked it. She hadn’t planned on calling him. She was going to throw his business card in the trash on her way out of the bar, but as she ran her finger along the embossed lettering spelling out his name, she made her second bad decision of the night and slipped it back into her pocket.

A special kind of love

Spending time with some family this weekend got me thinking about love. As a romance writer, I spend a huge amount of time thinking about love. It’s not just the romantic love that inspires my writing, but love in general. Throughout life we experience many different kinds of love. There is the love you have for a spouse or a significant other, the love you have for your parents or family, and the love you have for your friends — just to name a few. They are all different kinds of love, but yet they all hold special places in our hearts. There are two kinds of love, though, that I have come to find that I just wasn’t prepared for. The first being, the love for my children. People often refer to it as having your heart dwell outside of your body and that is the absolute truth. The love I have for my kids is unparalleled. From the day they were conceived they stole my heart. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for them. I mean, come on, who couldn’t love these little faces?

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I know I’m biased, but they are two of the most amazing humans I’ve ever met. They are growing into such amazing young adults that make me so proud. The teenage years are trying, but I think so far we are doing okay.

The second kind of love that I was totally unprepared for was for my nieces and nephews. Through marriage I have twenty-five nieces and nephews and one great-nephew — yes, I know, I’m way too young to be a great aunt..lol. I can’t seem to find a picture of all of them together, but they are all amazing and beautiful humans!!

On my side of the family I am the proud aunt of three amazing little girls, Karter, Riley, and Cassie. Just when you think that your heart couldn’t possibly have ny more room, along come these beautiful, little humans. I was smitten from the first time I laid eyes on them.

Being an aunt is one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It definitely brings me back to my childhood and makes me appreciate, all the more, the relationship I had with my aunts and uncles. I remember sleep overs, parties, family road trips, and stories with props. It’s a special kind of love and one that I cherish.

I recently got to spend some time with two of my nieces and I loved every minute. Living over two thousand miles away from these sweet, little cuties definitely makes me appreciate the time we do get to spend together. Love in its many shapes and forms, is an amazing thing. It’s a life source all its own that drives most of us to do the things we do. It is something we should never take for granted. If you love someone, tell them today because no one knows what tomorrow holds. To all my loves, you inspire me everyday to do what I do, to reach for the stars and never give up. I love you all.