Ten Things of Thankful – Before the Voyage

Looking back on the past week and a half, I have so much to be thankful for. Writing about my gratitude will tie together – quite nicely – all the different things going on in my life at the moment.

The Meditation Retreat

I continue to feel the effects of so many days of meditation. Being with 28 other folks who were from all walks of life and had all sorts of different beliefs, this validated for me how we can all coexist peacefully – if we but just understand that all we need is to love and have compassion for each other.

The quad area at the retreat center. Incredibly restful and peaceful.

The Last Day of Work

I finished the school year. It’s been stressful and tiring and, you know, sometimes I wondered if I was cut out for working in the academic world. Still, working with so many people – from elementary students to superintendents, to parents and church leaders – the experience has made me grow in ways that I can’t even describe. I have a level of confidence I had not known was possible in my existence. I can read and understand people on a different level now. Furthermore, I have a much deeper understanding of the idea of “the boss.” Where I used to question the decisions former principals and directors made, I now have utter sympathy for those in charge having to make unpopular decisions. You never really know what’s going on behind closed doors.

The Novel

This morning, I finished the final “content” edit. I’m going to do one more read-through to try to catch typos and other such errors, but otherwise, I’m going to send it to my editor – my ever-supportive husby – in the coming week. This being a first novel, I’m not looking for any high dollar investments as far as editors and book cover artists. I will publish on Kindle and we’ll just see how all this goes.

The Possibility of Publishing the Novel

I have now gotten further than I ever have on any novel I’ve worked on. Littering various hard drives and thumb drives, I have an assortment of unfinished novels in different genres. I figured out somewhere along the way that I love to write about scary things – ghosts, the unexplained, supernatural phenomena, and even superhero-type characters – and the possibility of FINALLY publishing has me really giddy. Honestly, I don’t expect much with this first one: the goal was to get over the hurdle of publishing. I’m still not there, but I see the hurdle itself coming up along the racetrack and I have the confidence to jump and clear it. So many times that hurdle came up on my running sprints and I stopped when I saw it. I’ve been training hard to focus on the success of not only jumping it, but briefly looking back to marvel at what I just did.

Discovering Chris Fox’s Books

These have helped me churn out a novel really quickly. Here’s what I’ve read while I’ve been working on my novel (these are affiliate links):

  1. 5,000 Words Per Hour
  2. Lifelong Writing Habit
  3. Write to Market
  4. Launch to Market

As a side note, I didn’t discover some of these books until this 3rd content edit, so some of the tips he talks about won’t apply until the next novel I start – which will be immediately, actually. But still. I can churn out 2,000+ words in half an hour if I don’t let myself edit and I have a clear plan of what I’m doing. I even emailed him to get clarification on something in one of his books and he emailed right back!

The Upcoming Epic Road Trip

So, school’s out and I have five weeks to have some fun. To be sure, I’ll continue writing while I’m on the road, but we’re planning on doing a road trip through Kentucky, Illinois, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming and then to Colorado. See, at least once, if not twice a year, I head out to Colorado to see family (starting out in North Carolina). But we often drive out there and then drive straight back and don’t have a lot of time to see other things. This year, starting in January, we started saving for an epic journey. We leave on Monday morning. We’ll check out the Badlands, Deadwood (remember the TV show?), The Devil’s Tower, Bighorn Medicine Wheel, Thermopolis (for the mineral waters) and then head on down to Colorado.

Close College Friends

There are people who have lots of acquaintances and then there are people who have a handful of lifelong close friends. The latter would be me. I made three friends – that I managed to not run off – from my days at Colorado College. At the risk of dating myself, I graduated in 2001. We live all over the US now but our friendship has transcended distance and time. We joke that we’ll be the scourge of some nursing home one day, throwing Oreos at staff and having wheelchair races. Hopefully those days are far, far off into the future.

Close Friends Who Graduate

So…out of the group of us college buddies, all of us have completed our Master’s degrees. One even completed her PhD. We run the gamut of people studying different things: I have my Master’s in Spanish. One has hers in Divinity. Another has hers in Psychology. The last just completed hers in Education at our alma mater, Colorado College. While I’m in visiting family and friends in Colorado, we’re also going to celebrate her graduation and accomplishments.

Age and Wisdom

My mom runs an assisted living center out of the house I grew up in. While it is unusual – I just love the look on people’s faces when I tell them I grew up in a nursing home – there are some really neat things about it. One of them is this patient who is turning 106. Yes, you read that right. She’s still pretty sharp and completely fluent in Spanish and English and my mom now takes care of her 85 year-old son. But, to celebrate 106 years of earthly living, my mom’s going to bring in a mariachi band to serenade her. We already have word that various news outlets will be there to witness this incredible milestone. Doctors told her she’d never live past 95. Just look at that miracle!

The Library

For our road trip, we have an assortment of books and CDs to keep us entertained. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been to Iowa and my perception of it is that it’ll be flat with no radio stations. It’s always good to be prepared but open to the possibility that there might be hills and pretty things there, and maybe even a good radio station or two as we pass through. And hopefully no dustbowls!

This has been part of the Ten Things of Thankful Blog Hop.

31 thoughts on “Ten Things of Thankful – Before the Voyage

  1. Aw, love how far you have come with your book and think that is truly awesome. Your summer plans totally sound like fun, but to be honest I am just seriously so happy it is indeed summer and that summer vacation is upon us now. That said, have a lovely and relaxing weekend now, my sweet friend!! xoxo ❤


    1. Janine – ahh, summer is *awesome* no? I can’t wait to go on this road trip. 🙂
      Hope you’re well. Thank you so much for coming by! Fingers crossed on the book. So crossed. LOL


  2. Dear Cyndi. How wonderful your book is all but done and I am so excited for you that you are about to get it published.. Wonderful too that you are now heading off on your road trip.. Schools Out! And I can only imagine you have let out your breath in a big sigh as you begin to unwind..
    Although I am working my way backwards, I am wanting to see how you enjoyed your meditation retreat..
    106 yrs young.. How cool is that.. 🙂 sounds also like you have an amazing Mom..
    Thank you dear Cyndi for the tremendous support you have also given me upon my posts..
    Its been a real push for me to switch back on the PC..
    I can only think I am in yet another ‘Shift’ as my vibrations tune in to myself and tune out of the world for a while..
    All good with myself though.. 🙂
    Sending you loads of LOVE and enjoy your vacation .. Love Sue xx


    1. Sue – how wonderful to see you! HUGZZZ! Yes…been pushing through the book and we’ll see, right? And yes, I love that my mom has a patient who’s 106. It’s pretty amazing that someone has lived that long. I hope that you enjoy your new PC and that you get out and have fun, too. So, so glad to see you and take care! xox


  3. Great list Cynthia! As Sue mentioned, now maybe you can relax a bit. I love epic road trips and have a few myself. Kudos on the book and passion to keep writing more and publishing. I don’t seem to have the enthusiasm for much of anything.

    have fun on your adventure!


    1. Brad – thanks! Yes, taking time to smell the flowers. 🙂 All the prep for our road trip has kept me busy all weekend, but it’ll be worth it. As for enthusiasm, hmm, well…how about this: I dare you to try something you haven’t done before – and your timeline is by the end of July. Hehe. And YOU have fun on your adventure. 😉


  4. I made an epic trip out to Colorado and I was amazed at the beauty of Iowa as I drove through on Route 80. You may be surprised. I lived in Boulder and then Denver for a total of five years, and have only been back once. Enjoy!


    1. Val – yay! That’s awesome. So, Iowa. Okay, we’ll go that route. Route 80 you day? And you lived in Boulder and Denver? I grew up in the Springs! I lived in Denver for almost a year once but…it wasn’t my cup of tea. But it was a good experience. I’ll chronicle my adventures. 🙂


  5. What a list.
    Congratulations on finishing the novel to send off. The whole online publishing world is so intimidating. I hope you learn a lot about it all and have a successful first appearance on the scene.
    That trip to see family, old friends, and the sites sounds awesome. Have a fantastic time.


    1. Kerry – well, hello there! 🙂 The novel thing: yeah, I’m thinking it might be a week or two before I’ll be able to figure out the ins and outs of publishing. That’ll be interesting. But if I can do it, I will be able to publish more. 🙂 I hope you have a great week!


  6. excellent sounding road trip! (hey! if you can swing through Kansas on your way down to Colorado, take some pitchas!*)

    love to hear about your progress (and your perceptions) of the process of writing a whole book. you know how I am with the identification thing, as a clark, I totally benefit from knowing of your triumphs and accomplishments.

    look forward to reading ms. s from the road!

    (now to get out the calculator and submit this here comment here)

    *well, no, my knowledge of where the States are and such, a little to be desired, especially in the middle, where all the big square states are…


    1. Clark – we’ll go through Kansas on the way back. I’ll get more pics of the windmills for ya. 😉
      Progress and process of writing? Why yes, I can do a post on that, too. I’ll share my musings from the road. Haha. Hope you’re well.


    1. Vanessa – hehe, whew! Almost there. Allllmost there. And the road trip. We’re getting started a day late, but it’ll be worth the extra day of planning. Haha. Thanks for coming by!


  7. I LOVE road trips! Iowa is flat, but it’s still lovely. HUGE farms. Northeast Iowa is especially beautiful. Go through Clear Lake. Minnesota is quite pretty, too. Watch out for the mosquitoes. If you come through southwest Missouri on your way back from Colorado, holler at me.


    1. Dyanne – okay, you’ve convinced me. We’ll go through Iowa and not take the more northerly route. And I bought bug spray yesterday so we’re good. Thanks for the tips! On our way back, we’ll pass through MO, but just through St. Louis heading into Illinois on I-64. But we go to Colorado a lot, so we’ll have to arrange to take a detour one of these trips. 🙂


  8. Just dropping by for a quick howdy. I have to get a new aviary built in a week and this old body doesn’t move that fast anymore. LOL Big roadtrip ahead…that sounds great. Say hi to Yellowstone for me. I miss it.



    1. Big Bro! Howdy to you! A new aviary!? Wow! That’s pretty awesome! Yeah, roadtrip. We’re going to leave on Tuesday instead of Monday – just too much to do and I don’t want to stay up until midnight stressing about it, lol. Anyways, I hope you have a great week!


  9. What better way to celebrate 106 than with a mariachi band? Sounds AWESOME and I think your mom sounds amazing for organising it.

    HOORAY FOR YOUR EPIC TRIP! I have to say I’m a huge proponent of them, having taken one which entirely changed the trajectory of my life.

    And EVEN MORE HOORAY for your novel! What a wonderful, positive place to get to with it 😀 Hope the editing goes well 🙂


    1. Lizzi – I LOVE those mariachis! Haha…looking forward to it. Only a few days away…
      The trip is going well. We’re now with family in Colorado Springs. I’m so thankful for all the blessings I have in my life…

      And the novel: 4th draft is finished! YESSSS! Husby is now editing…


  10. Congrats on your progress with the novel. I’m so happy for you! 99% of us never even get to this point with our projects, so how awesome is that! Keep pushing it forward. I can’t wait to buy it!

    And that road trip sounds like the best idea ever. I got to go on a road trip with my dad and grandparents when I was maybe 19 or so? Two weeks all over the western US. It was a really amazing time. I’m so grateful for that trip and all the terrific memories. I hope to do something like that with my wife and kids someday.


    1. OMG – Chris. DO IT!! Road trips don’t have to be expensive: we camped our way through and packed all our own food. The most expensive thing was gas. The memories they create and the things you see are TOTAL INSPIRATION for writing, too. 🙂
      Here’s to achievement: you blasting blogging out of the water and me publishing! YAYAY!


  11. You are amazing, sticking to a goal and successfully completing it! I visited Colorado once and loved it, especially the blue skies and fresh air.


  12. I got giddy reading about your publishing journey and how you’re literally minutes away from publishing – exciting times!!! I’m so glad I was able to share it with you – couldn’t wait to chat and see how far you got every day. You’re going to have to pop a cork when that baby is published. 🙂

    I hope you’re having an AWESOME holiday & road trip and taking a ton of photos and just enjoying – you deserve it! Missing our chats a lot, and can’t wait to catch up when you’re back. xxx


    1. Melanie – hehe, sorry this comment didn’t show up immediately. Not sure why my blog does that. Anyways, yes, looking forward to chatting more. And yes, when I do hit “publish” I am going to treat myself to a nice bottle of wine…ha!


  13. Dianna – thank you, sweet friend! I was thinking about you: I want to return the favor of your sweet comments. Do you prefer HubPages or your personal website? And if it is a personal website, could you let me know which one? Thank you so much for coming over! xo


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