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Archive for February, 2014

You Will Never Know…

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

My husband just recently celebrated his birthday and as a surprise we spent the weekend at Wintergreen Ski resort. Let me first share with you that I am by no means a girl who enjoys the cold weather much, so the thought of spending the weekend in the mountains, bundled up, and outside in the snow did not really appeal to me but to know this is something that my husband has always wanted to do, I thought it would be an ideal way to celebrate. To my surprise, not only did we enjoy skiing, the entire experience proved eye-opening to the both of us. For starters, we both enjoyed the challenge of overcoming our fears of falling down the slopes, busting our butts, and all the crazy thoughts and experiences one has when learning a new sport. However, the most important lessons learned in skiing can be applied to in life which involve the importance of being focused, in control of the mind/body, and the importance of getting out of your comfort zone.

One of the first lessons in learning to ski is the importance of “looking up and focusing on where you want to go”. Your natural tendency is to look down, especially if you are unsure of how to position your legs, hold your arms, or point your skis, however looking down will cause you to crash. If you look up and focus on your present target right in front of you, your natural instinct will be to head in the direction in front of you. This particular lesson can hold true in your life, if you focus on your goal, dream, and desires like a laser beam, you will maintain focus and eventually reach the desired goal. However, once you take your eyes off of the dream or goal, and focus your attention on something of insignificance or allow your fears to take over, you lose focus, get off balance, and you will fall.

The second lesson involves mastering the ability to maintain control of your mind/body while gliding smoothly down the slopes. This is easier than it sounds, because unless you stay on the bunny slopes, you will fall numerous times, before gradually getting the hang of the sport, and techniques. You have to mentally prepare yourself for that!! In addition, you will need to learn the art of relaxing not only your body, but maintaining control and knowing the precise time to shift your body weight to move, or turn. The same is true in your life, you have to be mentally prepared to take on new challenges, tasks, or new opportunities and you must master the art of maintaining control of your thoughts even when confronted with unexpected twists and turns of life.

One of the last lessons that I learned while skiing is the importance of realizing sometimes it takes stepping out of your comfort zone to open your eyes or take a new approach on things. As I wrote earlier, my husband and I had never skied a day in our lives. However, my husband approached the thought of skiing with anticipation and excitement and I approached it with “This is not really my thing but I will give it try” approach. At the end of the day, sore shins, and all, we loved it! Sometimes it may involve you stepping out and trying something new before you realize or wake up to what you are truly capable of doing in your life. Is it possible? Yes! Anything is possible if you have the confidence and belief that it is for you.


““One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again. Abraham Maslow “

Threw Me For A Curve

Friday, February 21st, 2014

By Nick Kelly

As I’ve stopped along all the blogs during the Write by the Rails Blog Endless Possibilities Blog Tour, I’ve focused primarily on my debut cyberpunk novel, “Catwalk: Messiah.” Angela threw me a curve when she asked me to post something inspirational. Cyberpunk by nature is very dystopian and pessimistic, so I’ll switch up and focus on the second novel I had published in 2013.


“Ichi” is the first book in the Urban Samurai series. The lead characters are Shia Ronin, a 1000-year-old samurai who hunts all the things that go bump in the night, and Detective Ryan Calder, a D.C. homicide cop who doesn’t believe in any of that supernatural stuff (until he starts seeing it himself).


“Ichi” provided me with the first chance to collaborate with my beautiful and talented bride, Stacia. She wrote Shia and I wrote Ryan, which provided for a fun and challenging time. Ryan shares a lot of personality traits with a few of my close friends and family members. He’s lost both of his parents, and his time on the force has hardened him a bit.



Enter the wisdom and charm of Father Munoz, the head of Holy Unity Catholic Church. Ryan has a foundation that donates to help the children of the congregation, but he wants no personal involvement. Father Munoz insists that Ryan become more personally involved, and his fatherly treatment of the detective results in the moment that changes Ryan forever.


Having spent most of my life as the son of my stepfather, rather than my biological father, I take great pride in writing Father Munoz. I believe that those who live their lives with strong faith and commitment to their beliefs are often the most positive, driven and dedicated people. The folks who live by example and make their beliefs a major driving part of their lives deserve respect.


I also think that a father’s voice can mold a young man with a power and tone that no other voice can. Don’t get me wrong. I believe the same thing about a mother’s love, but a son’s relationship with each of his parents is as necessary as it is unique.


Father Munoz isn’t Ryan’s father, but in “Ichi”, he is the closest thing Ryan has. He acts as a surrogate Dad, anchoring Ryan to things that are peaceful and positive, while the world he knows is literally changing before his eyes. We all need someone like that in our lives.





Nick Kelly is a musician, professional speaker, and an author. His works include the cyberpunk/sci-fi novel, “Catwalk: Messiah” (Book One in the Leon “Catwalk” Caliber series), and “Ichi” (Book One of the Urban Samurai series). Both are available on Amazon.

The Stories You Tell….

Friday, February 14th, 2014

  By Tamela Ritter


You sit in silence. The waves lazy lap against the shore the only noise. It’s as old as time, and deaf, so you hear it on a different level. It becomes a part of you. At first you are overwhelmed and mystified by it all; the scope if its beauty, the size of its mystery.  It is different than anything in your everyday life. So you wonder about its stories. There have to be so many. 

The water dances and sparkles all around you. It claims you. In the distance you can see pockets of islands, rich with soil, trees and wildlife. Again you think about the story those waters and those shores contain, but it all seems so epic and sweeping. You are weak and helpless there with the failings of your creativity. Your imagination abandoning you.



Many fruitless moments you wonder why you think this way. You contemplate if others have stood there and thought the same. Of course they haven’t. Others come, see the beauty, sigh and then move on. They don’t think of the stories that will never be told because they don’t have the words to tell them.


Sitting down on a large boulder listening to the precise sound your shoes make as they grind into the dry crumbles of rocks, stone and crisp seaweed, you question and doubt if you’ll ever have the ability to tell it just right.


You close your eyes and try to clear your mind. You wonder, not for the first time, how people mediate, how they turn off their minds rampant processing of stimuli. You try…again.


It is then that you hear it; just the merest of tinkling in the near distance. You open your eyes and turn from the vast, deceptive calm of the distance horizon and follow the sound. You see beside you a tiny brook, a stream of inconsequential water, overlooked and ignored. You had done it yourself.


Sliding off the boulder, you crouch and follow the stream down to where it has forged a pathway through a wall of reeds. It is there where you see the conflict, the struggle and climax, as the lazy yet resilient water from the stream is pushed and tussled by the ripple and roar of the sea.


You wish you had the right camera to take its picture and be able to show how alive it is in its slow solitary purpose. You would zoom in and show the diversity of color and motion, the iridescent shimmer dancing along the mossed pebbles.


Maybe if you had a violin, you could compose a song that reflected how loud it has become. A piano and you’d be able to create the tempo change as the thrusting of the water through the reeds gives way to the tinkle along the jutted rocks.

If you were a painter you could show the way the water glistens and dances down the minuscule incline. You could mix paints just right to show how the moisture of the stream spreads out from the natural construction of its beds before returning to dry grey pebbles.


But you don’t have those instruments; those are not your skills. All you have is this pen, this piece of paper and this driving desire to tell the small, inconsequential stories that others overlook.

BAR HARBOR MAINE Labor Day Weekend, 2009



Tamela J. Ritter was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, her debut novel From These Ashes was published in March 2013 by Battered Suitcase Press. She now lives and works in Haymarket, Va. You can find her on Twitter or on Facebook.




Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

By Katherine Gotthardt


Allah, I am a fragile path of artifacts:
a lead Buddha facing Mecca,
an iron cast Vishnu, four arms
reaching towards the Middle East,
a Christ, eyes closed. Steeped in deepness,
these are the figures of journeys

They are more than décor.
They are trees lining a road as ambiguous
as history, silent guides sunk in soil.
How I love each, inviting
them to root themselves—which they have.


It is painful.
The ground is grass and tender.

Step lightly, oh Lord.
Leave no holes,
but leave me not alone.

copyright Dec. 31, 2013
Katherine M. Gotthardt

Katherine Gotthardt






Take The High Road

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Have you ever had someone betray your trust, talk behind your back, or wrong you in anyway? At one time or another, we have all have had someone do or say something that went against what we would consider “loyal” or “nice”. Was it a friend, co-worker, partner, or spouse? Your initial reaction may have been to confront the individual, curse, or completely drag their name through the mud. An eye for an eye, right? Not necessarily.  Have you ever heard of the term “take the high road”? If someone hurts you, puts a dagger in your back, or betrays you, in many cases, it’s best to let that individual bring themselves down vs. you seeking revenge. Someone once said “In the long run the person who wronged you, or talked about you, has undoubtedly done it to other people – and the negative energy they have expelled will come around full circle”. Bottom line, keep doing the right thing and life will work out for you and your integrity will be intact.  Lastly, remember you cannot control the actions of other people, or what people say, but you can control how you respond to it.  Make it a daily habit to “take the high” road, stay focused, and keep away from people with toxic thoughts and negative energy.


Don’t follow society’s values like sheep. You know if something is ethical by considering if you’d like it done unto you.


For A Moment

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Lately, it has been extremely challenging finding an hour, 30 minutes, or even 10 minutes to sneak away and grab a moment of solitude or even a second of peaceful serenity. In between changing pampers, fixing bottles, and child proofing the home, by the time 10 o’clock rolls around, I am pretty exhausted. This is my life at the moment. Twindome is what I like to call it. Raising twins, especially the first year, seems like an entirely different world. Some days, I simply pray to be able to get out of the house with everything and everyone on time! Better yet, I cannot recall the last time I left out of the house without either baby food, throw up, or milk on my clothes!  However, one thing that makes the days seem brighter, the poopy pampers bearable, and the running around acceptable, is the moment during the day when I hear a little giggle, get a big hug, or tickle a’s in that moment, my heart fills with joy, and an enormous amount of love sweeps over my entire being and for a moment the serenity, peace, and an outrageous amount of love consumes me and reminds me that it’s all worth it. That is Love.

Don’t Get Lost in the Wrappings

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

By Cindy Brookshire 

 Thanks, Angela, for allowing me to visit your blog today. You were so generous to donate one of your books, “BetterSweet: Rebuilding From the Inside Out” to the gift basket for a Virginia Writers Club event in November.

I have been doing my own “rebuilding” work for several years now. Professionally, I went to the Flory Small Business Center and took a CORE FOUR Business Planning Course to boost my freelance writing business. I also invested in myself by applying to, getting accepted and participating in Leadership Prince William in 2010. I am now a lifetime member. With my creative writing, I have an accountability partner, and check in with her weekly to stay on track with my own projects.

Personally, I have been working on getting healthier – in fact I ran into Angela when I was making the rounds of different fitness facilities in the community to see which one to join. While I didn’t choose the same one that Angela frequents, she made me feel welcome when I visited hers.  So now I am working out three times a week, and eating three healthy meals a day with an emphasis on fresh vegetables and lean meats, and no processed foods.

I can tell I’m internalizing a healthier lifestyle because I treat others in a healthy way as well. Recently it was my turn to cook a church meal, and instead of falling back on meatloaf and mac ’n’ cheese, I took a recipe off the Internet for Brazilian black bean stew and made it. It had sweet potatoes, black beans, tomatoes and red peppers in it, and chili peppers, garlic and cumin for spice. At the very end, I folded in cilantro and chunks of mango. It was a hit.

The biggest thing I’ve learned about “rebuilding” is the gift of a renewed spiritual life. You know how a small child will get a present and sometimes spend more time playing with the ribbon and wrappings, as they do with the toy inside? You can rebuild your life and get lost in the wrappings …a new client, more income…a shiny award…a feature on a major website… a working woman make-over.  Forgotten, or cast aside, is the true gift, inside the box, waiting for you … a healthy spirit, one that has let go of the baggage of the past, has embraced the confidence of the future, but is grounded in giving a lift to the next person who also needs a helping hand.

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Cindy Brookshire is president of Write by the Rails, the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club. Her blog is 

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