The Face in the Mirror

When you’re 16 or 24 and you gaze at your reflection, you used to wrinkle your nose up thinking you don’t like your hair (it’s not thick or long enough or not the color you’d like it to be). You may be critical of your nose or the shape of your eyes or lips. The point is, when we’re young we always found something about our reflection that we would like to change. I’ve never met a woman who’s ever been 100% satisfied with her looks. We all have our secret insecurities.

Now that I’ve added a couple of decades to that 24-year-old reflection, I look at myself and wonder what she was complaining about? Her skin was toned and firm, she had cute little freckles across her nose and cheeks (that I once truly hated), she had beautiful dark brown eyes, and a perfect smile. Personally, it was always my hair that I hated about my looks. I had always hated the strong red tint and use to color it blonde to hide it. As I got older, I colored it brown, but within weeks the reddish color was back and there was not much I could do about it. I’ve since given up the battle and instead, get irritated by the cluster of greys that appeared just above my right temple about five years ago.

That and the ever present dark circles under my eyes. There are days I look so exhausted that it appears someone has struck me in the face, blackening both eyes. With the proper amount of sleep, they do dissipate. But seriously, who has the time to get a full 8-9 hours of sleep a night? Not me! There are simply not enough hours in the day for all I must do.

Now don’t give me the time management speech. I work almost 10 hours a day at a job that I love! Then I come home and dive straight into my school work, while also still fending calls and little things from the office (doctors can be very demanding!!). My Grad school work is everything to me and I’m holding a 4.0. It is extremely important to me to graduate with honors and know that I did it on my own!!

Once my studying is done and homework completed, I focus on writing, research, and republishing my books. I usually fall asleep with a book in my hand or over my laptop with the lights still on around midnight or so and then get back up at 4:00 AM to do it all over again. I’m not making excuses, or asking for sympathy, because I happen to love my life and I fought hard to get here.

But this morning as I was doing my makeup, I realized I have small lines on my face, my freckles have faded, and that 24-year-old girl has matured into a 44-year-old lady. I have been so busy raising my children, going to school, building my career, and living through life’s up and downs, I hadn’t fully noticed the reflection looking back at me was that of my mother.

I admit, it made me smile. Throughout my life, people have always complimented my mother on her youthful good looks. She’d politely smile and say thank you, dismissing it. She is now in her late sixties and no one guesses her age. As I studied the reflection staring back at me, I silently thanked my mom for passing on her genes, but it also gave me a warm sense that regardless of the miles between us, she is still with me every day in my smile. And despite the faded freckles, the patch of persistent greys, and the little fine lines that define the lady I’ve become, I wouldn’t turn the clock back if I could to be that 24-year-old girl again! It was extremely difficult the first time around and I know I wouldn’t have the strength to relive those years all over again! And I couldn’t be happier with where I am today – dark circles and all! Life is good!!

Goose and the Danger Zone

He opened the truck door for me after taking me out for sushi (I have never had it, nor will I again, but it was fun to try something new). I climbed into the seat carefully as I was wearing a sundress and heels. He paused while I rambled on about the Grad school class I’m currently taking. Feeling self-conscious, I stopped talking. He leaned in and kissed me softly, sweetly. And there it was – butterflies!

We have spent countless hours talking on the phone; even once talking through the night. He made me feel like a silly teenager again; laughing and giggling through the night. I love his sense of humor. We have so many shared experiences, grew up in the same period, and love the same music. Our histories are the same, yet very different.

Starting over again in the dating world after a divorce is frightening, challenging, and horrifying … on a good day! I took some time away from it; to go back to school, to heal, to figure out what I wanted. And it helped a lot. I wanted to feel comfortable in my own skin. I wanted to make sure I didn’t make the same mistakes I did in the past. It takes two to make a successful marriage, and two to make it fail. It’s not always the easiest thing to admit, but the honesty does make a difference in how you perceive yourself at the end of the day.

Road trip – perhaps a little earlier than expected, but occasionally you must throw caution and common sense out the window. He drove, I rambled; which I tend to do when I’m nervous and nervous doesn’t even begin to describe how I was feeling. I was nauseated and dangerously dehydrated the entire trip. I had to remind myself several times that he was not a serial killer who was going to rape and dismember me tossing my remains out in the scarce desert we were surrounded in. I had to put my trust and faith in my gut and my gut told me he was unique, kind, silly, with a heart of gold.

And I discovered he is all that and so much more. I learned he was just as nervous and self-conscious as I was. Instead of a romantic getaway, we spent the night laughing and talking; getting to know each other. He was quick to laugh, even quicker with his sarcastic remarks, and I discovered he could even be vulnerable. His softer side was truly enticing. He is a rare gem!

I learned a few important elements about this quick witted, intelligent, movie savant. One; to keep my hands and fingers a safe distance from the chips and salsa if I want to keep them intact. Two; he could make me laugh until I was in tears and my sides hurt. Three; he gets bashful when his soft-bellied underside is showing. And finally; that at the very least, I’d made an incredible friend!

Could he be so much more??!!! I suppose time will tell…

Scarlett Ink Publishing

Scarlett Ink

After a great deal of soul searching and rejecting numerous offers I was torn on how I should proceed with my writing career. I spoke at great length with a dear friend of mine, Calum McDonald, who has been an amazing supporter of my work, who told me I should publish my own books, but not exactly self-publishing. So, we discussed what it would take to open our own publishing house. And several months later, our international baby was born…Scarlett Ink Publishing. It’s in the beginning phases, but we have our incorporation, our domain name, and the website … and a couple bright hungry employees ready to run.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to begin this new journey in my life. My EVE series and With Honors series have been reedited and recovered. I am absolutely in love with the new covers and am eagerly anticipating sharing them with the world. I feel they truly reflect the embodiment of the stories within.

We are aiming for a June rerelease of Essence and What I Really Learned in College. Until then our new Chief Marketing Director, which I’m happy to say is not me, will be building our marketing division and designing giveaways and special offers for preorders. I love the creative marketing campaigns he is building and am excited for him execute them. If you’d like to keep abreast of all the exciting things we’re doing, please go to our website, and sign up for our monthly newsletter. I promise you will be happy you did.