Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Five Surprising Ways You Could Be Unintentionally Hurting Yourself


 
Spending Too Much Time Online

I admit, I write this with five sites open, from my glass house. But I feel it. When I’ve spent too much time online and not playing fetch with my dog or getting outside I miss fresh air. My chest gets that cobwebby feeling and my legs cramp up after I’ve spent too much cross-legged time at my desk.

I’ve written about this before, but an overabundance of time online can also complicate things in regards to comparing with others, planting unrealistic impressions, and creating a false sense of security.

The Glorification of Busy

Yep, this is me again. Writing and watching as the words appear behind my glass computer screen. There’s something to be said for unencumbered simplicity. Let’s get back there. Let’s find it again. Even if it means having to get creative with carpools and letting the laundry go another day. (However, one of my favorite Pinterest pins says, ‘Laundry today or Naked tomorrow.’)

Processing Something to Death

I’m a processor. Don’t believe me? I used to call the woman I coached soccer with to discuss how our recreational soccer games went. Believe me now?

But I’m not really referring to kid soccer games here. I’m talking about a deep hurt or a bitterness that you stroke again and again, thinking it’s helping you sort it out and get over it. When really, it’s not. It’s just a way for you to remember the hurt. To massage it as a validation the scar went deep and you are entitled to your pain. You are entitled to your pain. So feel it and get through it. Don’t fall into the trap of mistaking processing for coddling.

Refusing to Admit When You’re Stuck

Eh hem. Me again. Writing from the pit. Got a hand?

The only reason I can speak to any of these points is because I’ve lived them or I’m still living them. And I’ve encountered firsthand evidence of the damage they cause. This one gets tricky because we can be really skilled at calling stuck something other than what it is. I’m “granting grace” or I’m getting older and no one expects as much from me as they used to. How about just plain being unwilling to try something new or getting a little too comfortable with your pit surroundings.

Being stuck is not a crime. Once we acknowledge that we’re having difficulty moving, we’re a lot more likely to seek out the reasons why. And then maybe we’ll even do something about it.

Mistaking Impulsiveness for Calculated Risks

I’m a risk taker so I’m quite familiar with this one. It comes down to discerning whether I’m basing my decision on feelings, experience, or something else. One of the best ways you can tell if you’re simply being impulsive is when you’re unwilling or hesitant to consider the potential consequences that could result from your dive. This is exceedingly important when you look down and discover there’s no water in the pool.

I like to pass on what I’ve learned and what I’m learning. Hope these thoughts help you today as they’ve helped me.

Can you think of any other ways we might be hurting ourselves without knowing it?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Don’t Let ‘Em Fool You (& some song lyrics)


A lot of exciting things have been happening in my life lately. Book signings. Just read a great write-up in the local paper about me entitled, “The Sweet Taste of Success.” Reviews for both of my books are strong. My husband and I are about to celebrate our fifteenth anniversary. My girls are back in school and I’m working hard on another story I can’t wait to share with you. I post some of this on social media. And some day-to-day happenings I keep to myself. To stroke and play with like a soft little bunny.
When I thought about what I wanted to blog about today my mind kept snagging on the word image. Particularly image on Facebook.
Life has a tendency to appear quite rosy on Facebook. For you. For me. For all of us. It’s only natural we want to put our best out there, but I wanted to share in this post how life isn’t a status update. It isn’t the best picture of twenty. It’s more than just the images we put out there of us when we’re in public or laughing with friends.
Life is a mixed bag. And while I respect that it’s wise not to dump our emotional baggage online at anyone who will click it open, I also think it’s good to remind ourselves that life isn’t a snapshot on Facebook. Social media is only a glimpse, and a glimpse we choose to share at that.
So in light of what I just wrote, I’m going to be candid. There’s a lot more going on in my life than book signings and articles that dub me a success. I often fight feelings of failure. I grieve friendships and find myself singing the following Bob Marley lyrics every so often. “Good friends we have. Good friends we’ve lost along the way.” Even though we have an adorable new pup, I still miss our old dog a lot. I get sad about family members battling sicknesses. I get frustrated with middle school girls who act rude. I have trouble acting normal when I’m nervous (nod to Counting Crows lyrics).
“And I’m gonna be forty.” (In a little over a year, but still Meg Ryan understands.)
So I write all this to remind you…
We’re in this together, people. And it’s never as real as it seems online. Don’t let ‘em fool you. (Hey, I do believe that’s Bob, too.)
 
 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Where in the World is Wendy?


 
Where in the World is Wendy?
Apparently at all the local coffee shops. As you know, books and coffee go together. I know this, too. That’s why I’ve made the rounds at all our fantastic local coffee shops.
 


Here I am at a Q&A book discussion for my book, The Disappearing Key
at Daybreak Coffee Roasters in November.
 


Me again doing a spontaneous “superstar” move at Down to Earth Coffee House last month.


Where will Wendy go next?
So. G Coffee Roasters. I’ll be selling & signing copies of The Disappearing Key & The Flower Girls there 
THIS SATURDAY, August 30th
from Noon-3pm
 
 
“There's not enough coffee in the world to fuel all the books I want to write.” Chris Stocking
(In other words, my coffee tour very well might just be at its beginning.)
 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The School of Life: Seven Powerful Lessons I Hope to Impress Upon My Girls


School is back in session next week. My girls will get their heads jammed full of all kinds of knowledge. However, there are some lessons I hope I’m instilling in each of them on a day-to-day basis. I thought I’d share seven with you today.

The Value in Investing in Something Greater than Yourself

Whether it’s by signing up for a Love 146 walk, collecting winter wear for the homeless, or making regular trips to Goodwill, I want my kids to see me making sacrifices for others.

Resiliency is Character-Building

Life knocks us down. People knock us down. We do well enough knocking ourselves down. The key is getting back up. It’s during the process of shaking off the dust that we begin to understand what we’re made of.

Creativity during Life’s Waits

I’m fairly certain 94.279387594375 % of life is spent waiting for something. Case in point, here is a little play-by-play of my “wait” list. Grow up. Get my period (yeah, what was I excited about on that one?), first kiss, boyfriend (wait, isn’t that backwards?), graduate, college, first place, job that suits me, marry, have babies, discover my calling (my life seems a tad out of order), see the fruit of that discovery grow to its full potential (still waiting). See where I’m coming from? And I didn’t even mention lines at the grocery store or Marshalls.

I do something earthshattering while I’m waiting in line with my girls. I ask them questions…we talk.

Kindness Trumps Argumentativeness, Hubris, or Inaction

Trust me, there are times I feel like Venus Flytrapping some people. When I witness road rage. Entitlement. Flat out ignorance or selfishness. Yep, want to swallow those suckers whole only to spit them out in a sewage plant. However, it’s a good practice, when tempted to practice kindness. Not fakeness. Not flattery. But a moment of slipping out of my own thoughts and attempting to enter theirs. Then doing something (albeit oftentimes small) about it.

Discipline

I’ve written eleven novels in less than seven years. That alone is enough to send the message I’m serious. That I’m invested. My girls see what I give up in order to devote time to writing. Little spies…they see everything.

Tenacity

Where passion lives, get tenacious. That’s the message I hope computes. Also, don’t give up easily. Become resourceful. When the time calls, speak up. Be a voice that’s not only heard, it’s heeded.

The Beauty of Empathy

I’m one of those people who has a horrible time remaining in my chair if I see someone crying across the room. Could be a complete stranger in tears. I have to fight not to leap toward them and smother them in a hug. Backing off from this a tad, I hope I’m teaching my girls to take risks with this one. To ask someone who’s crying if they’re okay. To stick up for a kid being picked on during recess. To go out of their way to the point where it feels a little uncomfortable in order to let someone else know they matter.
 

There are many other messages I’d love to know my kids are receiving, that are becoming a part of how they perceive their role in this world. But these are the biggies I wanted to share with you today.

Have you ever given thought to what your kids are learning outside of school?

 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Restored Buoyancy


 
 
“Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It's like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can't stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.”

~ Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Cheers to My Endorsers and Their Recent Releases

I seriously considered who I wanted to ask to potentially endorse my latest work. I was so grateful the four women I’m highlighting in this post today responded to The Flower Girls with such praise (read their reactions below).

Each of the authors who endorsed The Flower Girls has somewhat recently released a book of their own.
 
Today I wanted to shine the spotlight on them.


Susan Schoenberger ~ The Virtues of Oxygen

Susan’s first published novel, "A Watershed Year," won the 2006 gold medal for novel in the William Faulkner William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. She’s agented by Jessica Regel with Foundry Literary + Media.

Her second novel, "The Virtues of Oxygen," released by Lake Union in July. Susan works as a communications director and teaches writing.


Michelle DeRusha ~ Spiritual Misfit

A Massachusetts native, Michelle DeRusha moved to Nebraska in 2001, where she discovered the Great Plains, grasshoppers the size of Cornish hens ... and God. She writes about finding and keeping faith in the everyday at http://michellederusha.com, as well as for the Lincoln Journal Star, Prodigal Magazine and The High Calling.

She's mom to two bug-loving boys, Noah and Rowan, and is married to Brad, an English professor who reads Moby Dick for fun.


 
Katie Ganshert ~ A Broken Kind of Beautiful

Christy Award finalist and Carol Award winner, Katie Ganshert, graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a degree in education, and worked as a fifth grade teacher for several years before staying home to write full-time. She was born and raised in the Midwest, where she lives with her husband, their young son, and their goofy black lab, Bubba. When she’s not busy writing or playing or reading or snuggling, she is obsessing over the paperwork and the waiting that comes with adoption.

 
Lisa Verge Higgins ~ Random Acts of Kindness

Lisa Verge Higgins is the RITA-nominated author of sixteen novels that have been published worldwide and translated into as many languages--quite a switch for this former PhD candidate in chemistry. Now this opera loving mother of three is creating heartwarming new stories revolving around women's lives and women's friendship. THE PROPER CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF FRIENDSHIP, her first foray into mainstream women's fiction, won the 2011 Golden Leaf Award for Best Single Title, and was chosen as one of the top twenty novels of the year by the Barnes & Noble General Fiction Book Club. Her second book, ONE GOOD FRIEND DESERVES ANOTHER, cracked the same list in 2012. Find out more about Lisa--and peruse the first few chapters of her books-- at www.lisavergehiggins.com. If you'd like to hear about her "life with three teenage daughters," she'd love for you to join her at www.facebook.com/lisavergehiggins.

Lisa currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and their three teenage daughters, who never fail to make life interesting.

Cheers Susan, Michelle, Katie,  & Lisa!
May you continue to find joy in writing, may your readership grow, and may characters and ideas meet you in your dreams until you make a home for them on the page.

 
Here’s what these talented authors had to say about my recent release, The Flower Girls:

“Alternating between identical twin narrators with tragic secrets between them, Wendy Paine Miller’s THE FLOWER GIRLS examines what it means to recognize -- or not recognize -- ourselves in others. It’s a moving contemporary tale of blame, jealousy, longing, and how old scars can finally mend.”
 
Susan Schoenberger, award-winning author of A WATERSHED YEAR and THE VIRTUES OF OXYGEN 

“An expertly woven tale of drama, mystery, suspense and romance, THE FLOWER GIRLS is, at its core, a deeply moving story about the intricacies of sisterhood, the unshakable bonds of family loyalty and the power of forgiveness, healing and above all, love.  Thanks to Wendy Paine Miller’s unique gift for creating approachable, compelling, intriguing characters, you’ll find yourself pondering her two narrators – identical twins Daisy and Poppy – as well as your own familial relationships – long after you turn the last page of this riveting read.”

–Michelle DeRusha, author of SPIRITUAL MISFIT: A MEMOIR OF UNEASY FAITH

“Deftly told and beautifully written, THE FLOWER GIRLS is a story about the bonds of sisterhood, the power of forgiveness, and the pain and the freedom that comes with letting go. Add in some long-buried secrets, intriguing family lore, a splash of romance and readers are in for a real treat!”
 
–Katie Ganshert, award-winning author of A BROKEN KIND OF BEAUTIFUL

“Wendy Paine Miller writes with gentle wisdom about the complexities of family relationships burdened with blame, secrets and loss. A poignant, emotional story about guilt, love, family, and the indestructible ties of sisterhood. Fans of Kristin Hannah will love THE FLOWER GIRLS!

 –Lisa Verge Higgins, author of RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS

 

 

 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

An Open Book…Mostly


For the most part I’m an open book. But there is a part of my life you won’t find my talking about often. And it’s the part that means the most to me.

My marriage. My family & home life.

Every now and again I’ll open up. Share a picture or two. Let others in. But otherwise, I like to keep these people and goings on close to my heart. I believe there’s something to be said for keeping some moments, some pictures, some jokes, and some events just between my spouse and me (or a family thing). This is why I’m not a fan of splashing photo after photo of our dates and outings on every social site. I’m too busy living them to bother with the steps it takes to post them.

I think in some ways the world has gone mad with overexposure. What do I mean? We’ve forgotten how to have a conversation without scrolling through apps on an iPhone or we can’t have our photo taken without wondering how it will look on Facebook. Sometimes I wonder if we’re losing the ability to discern how self-focused we’ve become?

As my bio indicates and has for years now, I love my husband and children with great intensity. I’m constantly finding ways to love them more, better, on a deeper level. I’m constantly wanting to grow in this.

That’s why it was such an honor to be featured in a book I highly respect.

With the help of some well-respected marriage experts (like Gary Thomas who wrote one of my favorite books on marriage, Sacred Marriage), Tyler Ward published a free ebook (Marriage Hacks: 25 Practical Ways to Make Love Last) filled with invaluable marital advice. I was grateful to be asked to share my two cents (pg. 98). Crazy that? Crazy wonderful.

Because my marriage has taught me a tremendous amount about the kind of person I am and the kind of person I desire to become.

Hope you’ve enjoyed tiny glimpse into the relationship I seldom publicly present. And I also hope you’ll check out the free ebook. I love my marriage, but I also know it requires a lot of work and attention. This book is loaded with great insights for those craving a meaningful marriage. 
Download the free book here.

What’s the best marriage advice you’ve ever received?