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Sending Love to Those Involved in the #ThaiCaveRescue

Exercise Compassion Every Day

While I love to concentrate on all things love and romance on this blog, the most important aspect of all is LIFE. Here, I love to Explore Life and Love, One Word at a Time. At the beginning and end of every day, I express my gratitude for life, love, family, and all those good and wonderful things in between.

When we focus only on the things we like and enjoy, or merely on topics and points of view that comfortably fit inside our comfort zones, we grow more hedonistic and become less empathetic. It’s far too easy to miss important things that are happening around the world that have so much meaning to human existence. One perfect example of this is the still developing story of the #ThaiCaveRescue where on June 23rd, 12 boys and their coach who were trapped deep in a craggy cave after monsoon flooding blocked their escape. Rescuers were only first able to discover where they were ten days later. The first miracle is that fact that they are all still alive!  

Thai Cave Rescue

I’ve mentioned that I’ve been closely following the #ThaiCaveRescue on Twitter, but I hadn’t devoted a post to this phenomenal ordeal and test of strength, endurance, and faith. I’ve been actively keeping these boys, their amazing assistant coach, the brave selfless rescuers, and all of their families in my prayers, and I have been thinking of them constantly. I’m a firm believer that the power of prayer and positive thinking, regardless of your belief system (or lack thereof), can make amazing things happen. Call me crunchy, but I’m an unashamed PhD who’s totally into faith, family, love, life, romance, and spreading positive vibes around the world. Oh yeah, and science, lol. :-*

Thailand Cave Search

At the time of this post, all 13 people have been rescued and are safe in a local hospital! Rescue efforts were beyond taxing and grueling, and one Thai Navy SEAL has lost his life in the extremely dangerous rescue attempt. The boys and their coach were 2.5 miles deep inside the cave.

It is my prayer that all of the boys, their coach, and all other rescuers will be safely reunited with their families as soon as possible. I’m so excited to see what wonderful stories will develop for each of these kids.

If you haven’t had a chance to learn more about this, please take the time to do so. This is an example of a modern miracle with the amazing feats of the rescuers. May they all be recognized and showered with accolades for doing what so many heroes and heroines from around the world humbly describe as merely doing their job. Thank you.

I don’t know about you, but following this very human story has certainly made me reflect on what things are TRULY important to me in this life!

“We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another.” – Luciano de Crescenzo

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 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, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

Happy Birthday, America!

Independence Day, USA

Happy Independence Day, or as most of us tend to say these days, Happy 4th of July! I’m probably the most self-censoring writer you’ve come across on a blog, but honestly, I just have zero desire to politicize most of my posts. And because it’s my God-given right to decide not to, I usually don’t. (See what I did there? 😉 )

The 4th of July means a lot of things to us who were born and raised in the good old USA. We’ve grown up celebrating our country, those who serve it, and those who have and continue to defend it since before we could walk. San Diego is very similar to my hometown in the South, and so far, I believe that it’s a lovely place to raise my little one where traditional family values are still considered to be the important glue that holds our communities together. America’s Independence Day is a special day to celebrate not only our military and their (our) families; it’s also important for us to remember our civil servants, too.

Happy-Birthday-America

Happy Birthday, America!

On the Fourth of July, we celebrate all of the things that each person associates with being American. We express our gratitude to those who have fought – and continue to fight – for our rights (and often, our wrongs). We express our pride in being unapologetically American. We celebrate the rights that we were born with, inherited privileges that, in all actuality, could still be eroded by the sweep of a pen and a blink of an eye. We are the renegades, the innovators, still rebellious, ever striving to define the indescribable miracleillusion feeling of being free.

But, we’re not the only ones who celebrate this amazing holiday. As you’re likely now aware of my fledgling obsession with fabric, hopefully you can understand what I mean when I say that the very fabric of our society is multifaceted and diverse. No one fits in just one simple pattern. What really impresses me is the fact that there are millions of people in the US who are not (yet) American citizens, but are permanent residents who celebrate this holiday with such reverence and enthusiasm as any proud military family, proud pacifist, proud Republican, proud Democrat, proud Independent does. There are beautiful, wonderful people who have given our country so much, and have earned the privilege of becoming American citizens themselves. They, too, are what makes up our idyllic view of America.

This is one holiday where anyone and everyone is encouraged to celebrate the love of OUR country, embrace OUR shortcomings with humility, and above all, celebrate OUR communities – the backbone of this nation. This year, maybe for just one day, everyone can set aside petty meme-wars, heavy political bias, or snarky hashtags, and just chill with the neighbor down the street. Maybe even give out a free hug or two.

Will I take my own advice? Here’s hoping.

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 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, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

In Case You Need A Hug Today…

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Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 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, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

101 Followers on Twitter!

Okay, so to the ultra-savvy, metatagging, keyword utilizing, sponsor-lassen bloggers out there, I’m sure that this is a laughable moment for you. But for me, I am so incredibly excited and grateful to have over 100 followers on Twitter!!!

Atina-Atwood-Twitter-followers

This is so important to me, because I’m not exactly a “follow me, and I’ll follow you back” kind of person. I love to look at your content, and if it speaks to me, I’ll definitely follow. I’ll also follow you on Twitter when you provide really thought-provoking responses, because clearly you’re awesome (and smart, too). If you want me to give you a visit on Twitter, my handle is @RealAtinaAtwood. Pop over and say hello!

Seriously, I appreciate each and everyone of you for taking the time to read my blog and follow me on Twitter. As my content continues to grow, I hope that you’ll continue to be patient and grow with me.

Love and light to all of you.

 

©Atina Atwood 2018 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, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

Make the Most of It

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©Atina Atwood 2018 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, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day to all of the wonderful men in the world who have been blessed to be someone’s father, and the biggest THANK YOU to those of you who do everything and more to be a real dad. That’s called real-life romance, my friends.

It doesn’t matter how old I am, my father will always be my Daddy. I love him so much! He’s such a kind, gentle, helpful, loving person, and all of my life, he has always been there for my family and me. He and my mom have been the most supportive parents, a fantastic example of partnership, and I have always admired their dedication to our family, and their devotion to each other. My Daddy doesn’t have to yell to be noticed, and quite often, he’s perfectly content to find a quiet space for himself to enjoy simply being (I TOTALLY get this trait from him). He has always appreciated and respected nature and inner peace, and I’m not the least bit ashamed to say that I got my “crunchiness” from him, too. ❤

And now, years later, I am so thankful to have another wonderful father in my life, namely the father of my sweet little one. My husband is an absolutely phenomenal father, and I just love the way his chest practically bursts with pride every time he sees our little one. The saying is true: When you see your spouse or significant other loving your child, you fall in love with them all over again. He’s truly such a wonderful Papa, and I am fully aware of the fact that I’ve been extremely fortunate to have lightning strike twice.

Have a wonderful day, and if you are still able to say it, remind the dads in your life how special they are to you. Even if they don’t say it, it means the world to be recognized.

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Trigger Alert

“I learned so much watching Anthony Bourdain. Not just about food, but about culture and life. He was an incredible talent who changed so many people’s lives. It is worth repeating just like after the death of Kate Spade earlier this week ….now with CNN’s Anthony Bourdain… If you need help PLEASE: Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Asking for help is a strength not a weakness.” – Nicole F, Friend from University.

This is a post that I’d rather not write, but I would be remiss not to. This week, two prominent and respected creative celebrities took their own lives by brutally hanging themselves.

I’m not going to mince words here. The fact that anyone feels so much pain that they are willing to tragically end their own lives and shred the lives of their families, friends, and their communities into fragments, shows that NEITHER MONEY NOR FAME CAN BUY HAPPINESS. It can’t buy peace, contentment, love, or peace of mind.

Kate Spade, and today, Anthony Bourdain, were both people considered to be “at the top of their game”. They had wealth, notoriety, fame, access, family, fans, followers, etc. But they also apparently had so much pain and sadness within them, that nothing on this earth could bring them the solace that they clearly so desperately needed.

As you already likely know if you’ve read my blog a time or two, I am a woman of faith, and in so many ways, it saddens me deeply to learn of “successful” people who have so much to be grateful for, and yet, the burdens that they have were so heavy that they found no more reason to hope, to want, to believe, to continue. What heartache and sorrow they must have been suffering!

I’ve posted about the phrase “Thoughts and Prayers”, so I won’t go there today. But I will say that I believe in you. No, I don’t know you, but I know that you have a purpose. I also know that you have a choice in everything that you do in life. These are hard times for everyone. We’re all searching for something, asking for more purpose and meaning, and we want to feel relevant.

Sometimes, though, if we walk away from the selfies, the likes, the # of clicks or followers that will never be enough, and we just focus on ONE person… could we make a difference? Could we encourage that one person to say, “Alright, just one more day of this bull”, and then one more day, and then one more until that person recognizes how beautiful and important they are?

WRITE TO ME. Even if you send a comment to me, or post on any social media outlet where you can find me, if you’re serious and want to connect, I’m here. I know that I don’t blog enough to generate tons of traffic, but if my post somehow reaches you when you’re looking for someone to say “I genuinely care and want you to remain on this earth with the rest of us”, then look no further. I’m serious. One of the best quotes of my younger years was from D.C. Talk when they sang:

“Love is a verb.”

PLEASE: Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness.

Photo sources from mercurynews.com

Taking the Plunge

Now that I’ve finally survived yet another semester, I’ve taken a few days to sit around (more or less) and focus on simply being. It might sound silly to some, but I personally strive to live as holistically as possible without being too “crunchy”. 😁

In any case, this has involved me taking a look at the trajectory I’m currently traveling, and taking the time to reassess my goals and what I’m ultimately aiming for. At this point, just as I was last semester, I believe that I can best serve myself and others by following a different path. I know that I’m a natural-born teacher, orator, and communicator, and I think that it’s high time I found another platform that allows me to do all three of these things in a more constructive and much more fulfilling way.

As usual, this leads me to thinking about my fictional and nonfictional works. Am I really able to focus on writing, promoting, and selling my books full- or part time at this point in my life? That’s a HUGE leap into the unknown, and for me, that is also really super scary. However, I’m also hyper-aware of the fact that the best time to launch any ship such as this is when you supposedly “have time”, so the summer is really the best time for me to begin.

That sounds wonderful in theory, but then there is always the dreaded “work/life balance” that for some reason, virtually only women seem to have to worry think about. During this past week or so, I have only written about 5 pages into my next standalone novel, but I’ve been able to start and/or finish about 4 quilting projects since then. Self-sabotaging, much??!!

Well, actually, maybe not. My husband, who is fantastically as diligent as my mom is about reminding me not to be my own worst enemy, pointed out that I need some time “for myself” in order to actually rest my body and mind. He’s very right. ❤️ This all goes back to the holistic perspective of bringing closure to one phase or experience before moving on to another. Energetically speaking, I need to bring balance to my chakras and increase my Qi; in layman’s terms, I need to stfu and ctfd for a hot minute and then decide whether or not I want to proceed into uncharted territory with a clear head and more than just a plan. At the moment, working through this is still a bit of a struggle for me, but I am proud to say that I am getting there!

For those of you who are writers, do you often find yourself prioritizing other things on your To Do list before writing? If you want it to become a full time (or part time) paying job, that’s not going to cut it. Imagine if you were to go to work and your boss asked you to compete a task by the end of the day, but you did every single thing other than that one task. You had one job, and you refused to do it. After walking home with that pink slip, you’d have to ask yourself, how badly did I really want that job?

As soon as you decide that you want to Go Pro, you’ve got to be 100% all in – to the best of your ability. Even if you try it out and decide a bit later that you’ve got cold feet, wade back into the shallow end – and at least know that you tried. But you have to get to that point first. Who knows? You may find it more comfortable swimming in uncharted territory than your fears would like you to believe.

Strip Show

If you’ve been following my blog for a little while, you may have come across the fact that I have absolutely become a fan of #quilting. It’s gaining a resurgence in popularity, and I’m so excited to say that I’ve been bitten by the quilting bug.

There’s something hugely whimsical and romantic about creating quilts with bright and colorful prints. I’m definitely attracted to the “scrappy” look right now.

I’ll admit that the vast majority of the people in my online groups are actually grandmas, but there are also men, and people who are “young” enough to know how life was living as a teenager in the ’90’s.

I’m having a great time experimenting and discovering things, and I just completed a full-sized quilt from start to finish in just TWO DAYS! If you’re familiar with the process of quilting, this is really quite a feat. It’s not perfect- the lines are far from straight, but I absolutely love it!!

I’m calling it “Strip Show”, because I used vertical strips to create the blocks, and because I think that the title is funny. I’m happy to share a picture of my result – imperfections and all. ❤️ I’ll post my pattern in a later blog post.

Happy Mother’s Day

If you’ve given birth through labor or via caesarean; if you’ve known the joy and trepidation of pregnancy; if you have felt the painful loss of a child, perhaps unborn or even never conceived – you are a mother.

If you find yourself in a role that you never expected to be in, when a child born of another is destined to become yours in both of your hearts – you are a mother.

If your fur babies give you the joy and fulfillment of what you know motherhood to be – you are a mother.

If you aren’t yet a mother but would like to become one some day in whatever capacity, I send you love!!

Thank you to all of the moms out there who are giving, loving, and trying every single day. Thank you to all of the men and women who support them, love them, and respect them.

Happy Mother’s Day.

It’s Almost Finals, Y’all

Okay, so if you can think back to the last time you found yourself praying for an academic semester to finally – for the love of humanity – end, then you know exactly how I feel right now. Apparently, educators are often the ones who look most forward to breaks and holidays, not necessarily the students. No wonder – not only do we get to create the exams, we have the joy of proctoring and grading them as well. *Sigh*

Nevertheless, this hasn’t deterred me from slogging along with my latest standalone novel. I’ve just completed Chapter 2, and my EXTREMELY lofty goal is to complete this book by the end of the fall season. The story is there, but I want to get to know the characters a bit more before I continue.

I don’t know how it is for you fellow writers out there, but my characters really like to communicate with me in different ways, through different mediums. Sometimes I’ll even see a complete stranger who reminds me of a character, and I can flesh out details based on that encounter. Other times, scenes unfold themselves and I have to figure out the sequences surrounding the lead up to that moment.

In many ways, it’s similar to planning out a course at the university. You have a strong structure and sense of direction, but you make constant modifications throughout the semester to make sure that the content remains relevant to the characters (aka students) involved. You never really know if your work has paid off until the final exam.

Follow that Gut Feeling

Now that today is Friday, I’m wrapping up what has to be the most low-key Spring Break that I’ve been able to enjoy in a long time. It was awesome not having to do much of anything, and being healthy at the same time. Usually, I’m battling some sort of cold or illness when I have a break, but this time, my determination kept me healthy throughout the week. Almost. Of course, this morning, I woke up with a cold. Whatever. It’s the weekend now, more or less.

It’s hard to say what the coolest part of my break was. I’d have to say that yesterday and today were by far the top two winners because I got to spend quality time with my husband and my little one on separate occasions. Since today is the last day of my week off, I thought that I’d have a Kiddie & Me day, and it’s been a blast.

What do you do when you have free time? Do you spend you time tackling more of those never-ending tasks on your list? Or do you actually use the majority of the time to make the most of your life doing what you love or being with those you love? I’m not judging, just wondering.

I’m wondering because after years of mental preparation, I’m only one final step away from leaving my day job and taking the plunge into the seemingly desired creative unknown. Somehow, somewhere, I have garnered the confidence to believe that I can make enough money from this thing. This is a big deal, people! But when you’re an undeniably creative soul, you pretty much only have two options:

1. You accept the nature of your beast, and do everything within your power to listen to your inner calling, and actually do something to keep every aspect of your being healthy and satisfied. You choose to nourish your creativity, not only acknowledging it, but relying on it on a day to day basis.

2. You try to choke that sucker with all of the strength you have, attempting to drown it, repress it, deny it, ignore it, curse it, and any other negative thing that you can do in order to actively attempt to kill a huge part of yourself that’s been a part of you since inception.

It’s so weird that far too many people in the world choose the latter. I’ve tried doing that before, and never had I been unhealthier or unhappier. I’m just not a 9-5er, lol.

As for me, I simply have to respect that I am an extremely creative being. Actually, i embrace it, and I’m blessed to have a family that has always supported this truth about me. I may not be a reliable blogger, but by golly, I am a creative soul!

During this week, I wrote the first chapter of my next stand-alone book in one day. I love when inspiration comes to me, especially when I create an inviting space within myself to accept its presence.

This is the work that I love to do. While I do love my day job teaching at university, there are too many restrictions that appear, constantly working against my creative flow and even my general sense of well-being. So, this Spring Break was a bit of a trial run for me. The summer break will be the even bigger test. I have a feeling that this is the year when I will go all in.

When it starts to come together, it will be awesome. If I feel the need to abandon all pursuits well, I’m thankful to know that I can always continue teaching in some capacity. But all signs have been telling me for ages to GO!! TRY!!! DO!! Gotta trust my gut and let my creative beast run free.

Alright, universe. I’m listening.

It’s Quiltin’ Time!

I’ve got a new hobby. As crazy as it may sound, I needed to find another creative outlet in order to prevent myself from fatiguing in others. So, what is this new hobby? Well, for one thing, it isn’t cheap. It’s addictive. It’s definitely a hobby that both women and men get super excited about. For many, it can be a viable source of extra, or even primary income. Its a craft. It’s an art. There’s a competitive sector for it around the world. It’s admittedly attractive to grandmas, but I’m okay with that because I’ve always had respect for my elders. (Actually, people of all ages are into it.) It’s challenging and deceptively easy-looking… until you actually get started. It’s artisanal work. It’s relaxing, almost meditative. It’s tons of fun!!

Ladies and gentlemen, my new hobby is quilting.

(I’ll patiently wait for you to recover your senses. Because I know that the title of this post gave you no hint whatsoever.)

After just two months, I’ve shifted from someone who had never even worked on a sewing machine before to someone who has completed two full quilts from start to finish and created an additional 6 quilt tops as well as 6 double-sided quilted placemats. I’m so excited! It’s a great feeling to be able to create on a daily basis without feeling the pressure of turning it into product. I intend to gift or donate the quilts. This is a beautiful and fulfilling hobby that can bring love and light to others. It can’t get much better than that.

During my college days, I performed in an off-Broadway musical called “Quilters”. It tells such a beautiful story that I’ve never forgotten. As a writer, it isn’t unusual that I would be attracted to quilting, because the blocks of any quilt are symbolic. Many quilts, their fabrics, and their stitching styles reflect cultural and historical significance. The blankets are literally designed to tell as story!

Once again, the apple isn’t falling very far from my tree of creativity. 😉

I’m excited to see where this new hobby takes me, and I’d love to share some discoveries with you on my blog as well.

“There are more rich plumbers than there are wealthy writers.”

I was just browsing on Twitter and came across this quote from justpublishingadvice.com. Sad to say, but it’s totally accurate.

Whenever you make the huge plunge into anything, the best favor you could ever do for yourself is to research. For example, I know that full-time authors in my county earn, on average, about $60,000 a year. I suppose it depends on where you live, but pretty much anywhere in California, that equates to being a side-job.

No one likes a Downer Donny, but it beats the alternative of fantasizing about earning millions of dollars for a trilogy you’ve written based on Twilight and churning it into a multi-million dollar industry that surpasses anyone’s expectations and sells books, films, cookbooks, music, and even adult products…

Wait. That actually happened. And there’s no signs of its popularity waning or slowing down.

Nevermind. Dude, you do you. Just do your research, make a plan, cross your fingers, work your butt off, and dream big.

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