Confession: I’ve Never Watched GOT

Game of Thrones & Real Game Changers

Okay, so a day or two has passed since the last episode of the 8th (and somewhat infamous) season of Game of Thrones has aired. People are still coping, many are still fuming, and other, more pro-active folks are using their energies to create petitions to completely redo the last season of the multi-million dollar show. Meanwhile, some provocative legislature on women’s reproductive autonomy is being passed like wildfire in many states, and even the president is saying “Whoa, Nelly” on Alabama’s extreme, newly passed abortion law. Under this specific law, women and children would be forced to give birth to babies forced upon them in depraved, violent, and profoundly traumatizing circumstances, namely rape and incest.

I am personally Pro-Life and I’m also 100% Pro-Women’s Health and reproductive-autonomy. We’re treading a dangerous line when our society is once again turning blame and shame to only the female populous. The growing lack of consideration for women and girls is increasing at an alarming rate. When this argument reaches the Supreme Court – as it inevitably will – our country needs to be prepared to accept full responsibility for the health and safety of all, whatever the outcome. At this point, we’re already failing pregnant and post-partum mothers in myriad ways. It’s increasingly becoming more deadly and costly for mothers to safely give birth to their children in America, especially for women of color (specifically, Black women). More American women are dying of pregnancy-related complications than any other developed country in the world. No wonder our birthrate is declining.

But let’s go back to Game of Thrones, a show that I have never seen.

 

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GOT on HBO

Apparently, the show took place in a medieval-like society with 7 kingdoms containing royalty, dragons, slaves, and zombies. People loved it until well, the end, and now there’s a big hole where folks had made space for a “satisfying” ending.

Why am I writing about this show if I’ve never seen it? Well, because it all has to do with writing, of course.

Game of Thrones is based on the books written by George R.R. Martin. He’s written five books of what he initially planned to be a 7-book series, but the most recent book came out eight long years ago in 2011. Coincidentally, that’s also the year of the HBO series’ first season. According to this article, Martin shared major ideas for how he wanted the books to end with the main show writers years in advance.

Now, as a writer, I find a lot of this to be highly interesting. First of all,  the author is a genius because once he landed that HBO deal and the show took off like a juggernaut, the man said, “Wait, let me see how all of this turns out before I toss another precious book baby into the world.” The whole time, people are buying merchandise, subscribing to HBO, devouring his books as canon, and some have even gone so far as to name their offspring after some of his characters.

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(I have no idea what this baby’s real name is. But look at those ROLLS!!)

Why would Martin disrupt that flow of interest and devotion by presenting another book until after the show has ended? Will he even release another one at all?

Watching all of this from the sidelines is interesting because most writers like to imagine what it would be like to have their work shared with, and appreciated by, millions. Very few people understand the struggle and heartache it takes to create a cohesive, alternative world as well as all of the beings that live within them. Many of us are happy if our work reaches a few hundred or *gasp* a couple of thousand people.

Now, Martin has the wonderful option of deciding whether or not to finish the series, or tour forever talking about ways he would have written it differently, or ride the wave of all of the continued hype and actually drop the next book installment with a continuation of the author’s solid character arcs that apparently disintegrated in the final season’s adaptation of the saga (this happens so often, it’s almost cliché). To be fair, the show’s writers no longer had any books to base the final season on, so there’s that.

No matter how we sum it up, in the end, author George R.R. Martin is clearly the biggest winner of all.

What are your thoughts about the last season? Have you read any (or all) of the books? I’m enjoying seeing how impassioned people are about all of this, and I’d love to hear your take.

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. She is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

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Family First – Say It, Mean It

Family First

First of all, it’s great to be back! It’s been a while since I’ve been able to take the time to sit down and pen a few words on this blog. Thanks so much for your patience, especially because for the past two months or so, my personal take on Love and Life has been virtually nonexistent. That’s because I had to drop everything to live by my motto, Family First.

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If there’s anything that’s going to make me disappear like a ghost on November 2nd (don’t @ me, y’all – I’m rusty here), then it’s going to be due to a family emergency. I’ve always been taught Family Comes First, and it’s something that my husband and I agree with 100%. So when Little Man doesn’t feel well, I’m going to be right by his side, even if it’s for almost an entire month. I had to take care of my precious little toddler, who suffered from suspected pneumonia, accompanied by drastic hearing impairment spanning over four months.

I should probably say that my little guy is so much better, thank the Lord! We were even scheduled for ear surgery, but being the crunchy Mama Bear that I am, I requested further evaluation post-recovery. The results were so vastly improved, even the thought of surgery was off the table. I’m so grateful!

Despite having to push all work aside (OUCH), over the course of the month, I once again grew accustomed to working at odd hours so that my writing didn’t suffer. I’ll talk more about that in a separate post, but throughout this experience, I can say that my husband was amazing at taking over as soon as he got home from work, allowing me to take care of the barest essentials for a few hours. *Insert heart emoji here.*

To me, keeping family first is a genuine team effort that demands sacrifices from all, but the result is the overwhelming love and confidence that you gain knowing exactly who’s in your corner when you need them most.

I hope that all is well with you and yours!

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, romance. She is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

#MotivatedMonday: Focus on the Light

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"It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light." - Aristotle Onassis.png

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”
– Aristotle Onassis

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. She is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

Romantic Thought: Love Simply Gives

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“Intense love does not measure, it just gives.” – Mother Teresa

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. She is the author of the Holiday Hearts series. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

Thursday’s Romantic Thought: Dream Together

Instead of just my usual shameless plug promoting my stories and to follow me on Amazon and Goodreads at the top of the page, I want to remind you that today is Epilepsy Awareness Day, where we’re encouraged to WEAR PURPLE to increase awareness about epilepsy worldwide. If you see someone wearing purple today, open your heart and simply ASK about it. Check out purpleday.org
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“A dream you dream alone is only a dream.
A dream you dream together is a reality.” – John Lennon

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. She is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

 

Not Aunt Becky! The College Admissions Bribery Scandal, and Why Personal Branding Matters

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The College Admissions Bribery Scandal

First of all, Happy Friday! I know that I need to start out with something positive because I’m about to throw down the gauntlet and engage in fisticuffs. (This might take a while, so grab a snack.)

At this point, I’ve made it clear enough that I’m an unashamed Academic. (With a capital “A”, as you can see. And don’t @ me because I’m an Academic who loves to use fragments and begin sentences with “And’s” and “But”s, too. But I digress…) I’m also a classically-trained vocalist who’s been on stages since the age of 5, and I understand the Game when it comes to ‘making it’ in the Performing Arts on an international scale.

So, I have to admit that this college admissions bribery scandal has really rocked me to my core. Why is that the case? Well, to put it simply (this is a blog, not a dissertation),

I just can’t see how people of such privilege would throw everything away for something as potentially useless as a college or university degree.

Yes, I said it. Potentially useless.

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Sadly, These days, I’m hearing too often how many people are unable to find ways to use their legitimately, hard-earned degrees. Of course, simply the experience of going to uni is incredibly valuable, and I’m obviously a proponent of higher education for those who truly desire to pursue it. It shouldn’t be viewed as being high school, part II. There’s no guarantee that a university degree is going to open every door that you desire. College is not a magic genie, and it’s not for everyone. I do believe that everyone should have the opportunity to attend college, university, or vocational school, but that’s another talk for another time.

We all know that “people of privilege” have advantages over your average Joe or Joanne. Duh. That’s why we refer to them as being privileged. Hard working kids have been robbed of opportunities that they likely earned, which really hurts. Unfortunately, this is not that uncommon. Sure, it’s not fair and it’s a shame and yes, yes, yes, but that’s honestly not the point here. Unfair advantages occur everywhere, on the daily. In this particular scandal, though, folks allegedly outright turned to federally criminal acts. On purpose. With eyes wide open. This is no misdemeanor, ladies & gents – the FBI arrested these people, some of whom we’ve looked up to and admired since childhood.

Of course, I’m talking about Lori Loughlin here. Yes, there are dozens of other famous names floating around, but she’s the star of Hallmark fame who struck a nerve in all of us.

The Women's Cancer Research Fund hosts an Unforgettable Evening, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 27 Feb 2018
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Why Are We Picking on Aunt Becky?

If you didn’t grow up with Full House on ABC, then you’ve at least heard of Fuller House on Netflix. The actress Lori Loughlin played Aunt Becky on the wholesome show and she has gained even more fame over recent years by being a staple on the Hallmark Channel. Her face became ubiquitous with the ideal of a woman who started with humble roots and steadfastly rose to a comfortable level of fame, all the while maintaining poise and humility.

When news broke that she had allegedly engaged in felonious activities – not once, but twice – fans were shocked to face the apparent fact that irl Lori Loughlin may be very different from her cultivated persona. Her roles encouraged us to put her on a pedestal, and like most of us would, she happily stood upon it. Now, in a matter of days, her hard-earned career and brand is in shambles and at least one daughter who didn’t even want to go to college is watching her real dream career crumble as well. Hallmark has severed ties with the actress and pulled all works that include Loughlin off the air. As a result, innocent actors who have worked with her on Hallmark shows and films won’t see any more residuals for their work, and other jobs may be lost. Now, that’s a real scandal in and of itself.

All because these parents allegedly actively chose to break the law – more than once – to satisfy their egos. This goes beyond a simple “oops, I made a mistake” level of wrong-doing. This was premeditated, and worst of all, it was under the guise of making charitable contributions to help underprivileged kids get into schools. It’s so sad, nasty, and pointless to me.

Let’s face it – we REALLY want to have role models. I mean, we’re desperate for them. Those of us who reach out via social media also want to fill that role for someone. That’s fine. But let me tell you right now, I’m gloriously flawed, and I walk in faith. I’m far from being a goody-two-shoes, and I love a descriptive open-door romance. At least 3 times a day I have to use my watch to find my phone. I also forget what I’m talking about midsentence numerous times a day. Too many to count, really.

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Just remember that as you’re building your brand, hold on to those elements of imperfection, the tattered parts of you that keep you tethered to the ground. Don’t be afraid to remind others that you’re honestly working hard to get where you want to be, and you’ll cheer them on as they do the same. Carefully select the high pedestals you aspire to ascend – because the fall from grace is swift and merciless.

Rant over.

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

 

Gimmie A Break

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We Need Some Down Time

Now that the Ides of March is near, we’re incredibly close to ending the first quarter of the year. That just blows my mind. Too many things have been happening, and I honestly have no desire to keep up with it all. My To Do list is long enough, thank you very much. Nevertheless, I keep adding tasks to my ever-expanding Get-It-Done board. At this point, I’ve completely abandoned my digital calendars in favor of the old-school ones because I just have too much to do. Stop reminding me of that, Google Calendar!

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Search for Silence Beyond the Noise

It’s amazing to have a sweet small child at this point in my life because I get first-hand lessons on how to quickly distill things down to what’s really important. One thing that I’ve realized is quiet time is essential for everyone. Every evening, my Little Man and I will sit and listen to our breathing – and yes, we play fantastically crunchy, ambient music in the background. It’s so exciting to see how calming this ritual is as we transition from an exciting day to sleepy bedtime. I hope that this self-calming technique will be one that he’ll be able to use well into adulthood.

Why am I sharing our family bedtime routine with you? Well, it’s because I realized how much I’m benefitting from this as well. Taking the time to turn off devices, sitting in bed with my favorite little person in the whole world while my husband enjoys a few moments of quiet time himself is tremendously rewarding. I find that the simplicity of it all brings a satisfying sense of fulfillment. I’ve also noticed that with these mental pauses, I’m able to let go of trivial things that stressed me during the day. The best advantage is that I’ve been able to bring more clarity to my ideas, streamlining them into feasible projects!

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As we chase behind social media, trends, hot topics, the next thing, and so on, it’s terrifyingly easy to burn ourselves out, to drain what’s left of our energy – just to spend one more hour online. What exactly are we searching for?

Only you can answer that, and it will change day by day. But maybe consider inserting a pause or two every now and then. It’s a great way to recharge before jumping back into the race.

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

Happy Friday!

TGIF

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely needed this reminder: Today is Friday!

Happy March 1st, Happy Friday, and Happy whatever reason you need to remember that happiness is always going to be our ultimate goal.

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Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

Motivated Monday – Rise Every Time We Fall

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rise when we fall
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucius

 

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2015-2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

Thursday’s Romantic Thought – When Their Happiness Means More

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our happiness

“Love is when the other person’s happiness is more important than your own.” 

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2015-2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.