I love what Kristin Lamb has to say about Facebook friends. I touched on sharing our lives on social media in my post, “When Private People Go Public,” but Kristin explores it with insight and depth. A must read for all of us social creatures. Enjoy!
Kristina Rienzi’s Blog
I wasn’t planning to blog today, but I’ve had a long week physically and emotionally and needed to share a few thoughts. I’ll keep it short because it’s almost time for wine and if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times…wine is the best therapy.
At my favorite place last weekend, Working Dog Winery.
I’ve always been healthy and I’ve never had a worry in the world about my health until recently. Anyone who’s read my last post knows I had a wake up call last week and I’ve been ruminating over my life ever since. I’ve experienced some intense emotions since then and have finally come full circle in accepting the reality – while I’m likely fine, there’s always a chance I’m not. And, that chance – though small – is terrifying.
I’ve been more of a quiet observer these past few days, watching people live as though they’ll live forever. There’s nothing wrong with that. Especially if you’re living your life to the fullest. But many of us don’t do that, do we? Instead we complain, argue, get angry and make everything an issue – or about us. We get annoyed with how other people are living their lives, and we think we know what’s best for them when, really, it’s none of our business.
I’m certain I was that person. Now, I’m trying to see things through compassionate eyes instead of angry ones. Maybe the nasty guy at the grocery store just found out his wife was cheating on him. Perhaps the woman who cut you off on the highway is rushing to take care of her sick parent. Possibly the person with no customer service skills is suffering from a serious illness.
I’m not saying people get passes to behave badly when life isn’t kind to them. But maybe instead of anger and accusations, we could rely on compassion. Everyone has a story with struggles we can’t imagine. Perhaps our smile or moment of understanding is just what they need to turn their day around.
Unfortunately, being truly able to appreciate life usually only happens after something hits us over the head with a hammer. We never want it to come to that, of course, but that’s what it takes for most. I know it did for me.
I’ve been in the mode of sharing positive quotes lately. I’m sure there are some who find it irritating and redundant, but if one person gets inspired then I’m successful in my quest to share good feelings. I need to read them just as much as the next guy.
So as you set off to enjoy your weekend, remember to be grateful. There’s so much to be thankful for and it’s easy to forget that life doesn’t owe us anything.
I, for one, am grateful for it all.
Stay updated on Kristina’s book releases, contests and giveaways by signing up for her email list.
Riding the Emotional Roller Coaster of Life
I love creating emotional roller coasters for my characters to ride. I have the honor of dreaming up all sorts of wacky scenarios and then watching my fictional people react. I sit on the sidelines and wonder how I’d respond in a similar situation. Maybe not in the paranormal scenes, but certainly in the ones involving crisis, triumph and failure.
Yet, no one really knows how they’ll react in a situation until it actually happens to them. I’m no exception.
Like everyone reading this, I’ve been through some struggles in life. I’m the person who panics in anticipation of what may or may not happen. But when bad stuff hits the fan, I take action. I’m a problem solver and a “doer” by nature. Even when the issue is my own, my first order of business is always to get down to business. All emotions are thrown aside, all feelings are shoved beneath the surface and I’m on it.
Things get done. Problems get solved. Life’s good again.
The flaw in this process is that I believe my success depends solely on me. I’m not saying I don’t have help. Far from it. I’d be nowhere if it weren’t for the people who’ve helped me through life. What I mean is, there’s always something I’m convinced I can do to change the outcome for the better. Whether it be a relationship, professional or financial dilemma, I’m certain the choices I make will have a direct impact on the end result.
So, of course, I’m careful to choose wisely.
Control is a wonderful thing. I’m a huge fan. I love to control things in my life such as my budget, my calendar and my goals. The true irony is that control is just a perception. Sure, we can take precautions to make ourselves feel better. Hell, we can do everything in our power to create the outcome we want. Sometimes we do a great job and get exactly what we set out to get.
And sometimes the best driver in the world still crashes and burns.
I’m a true believer in being in charge of your own destiny. My experience has been to determine what I want in life and to go out and get it. And I’ve done a great job living with that philosophy. I’ve taught myself that through hard work comes success, and a positive attitude combined with a defined goal are all you need to live your dreams.
That is, until I learned my role in life was more that of a co-pilot than a captain.
One of my favorite memories – riding co-pilot next to my love flying the Diamond DA40.
I’m as private as they come. Of all the people I hold dear, I can count on one hand the number of them that know my darkest fears and deepest emotional terrors. The stuff I lie awake at night worrying about. The things I’m afraid to say out loud. And still, there are pieces of my heart I keep all to myself.
With that being said, I threw everything out the window this week. Something happened, let’s call it “the unknown” for sake of discussion. And I’m certain I’ll never be the same.
The unknown walked in like a friend and sat beside me. It fooled me into thinking I was in charge of the outcomes in my life. And in the next breath, it set me on fire. The control I thought I had evaporated. Feelings I’d hidden from myself were raw and uninhibited.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried for the first time in what felt like years.
The person I thought I was disappeared. Left in her place was a vulnerable and terrified girl I didn’t recognize. Someone who realized she’d been living her life in a fog and had finally gotten her wake up call. Someone who was learning that nothing is guaranteed to you in life. No matter how good of a person you are, no matter how hard you work and no matter how much you love.
No matter anything.
I’m not saying I’ll change from a control freak to a free spirit, but I’ll certainly let a lot go. I’ll live with the understanding that what’s meant to happen will happen. I’ll still do my best, but I’ll know I’m not the only variable at play. I’ll allow my emotions to have a life of their own so I can live one too. And I’ll cry when I need to cry. It’s okay.
Because unlike my characters, I’m all human all the time.
We’ve all had the unknown come in and out of our lives to shift our perspective onto what really matters. Our job is to pay attention to its message and make the changes we need to make. Maybe it’s to be understanding. Or to be kind. Or to love with all of our hearts all of the time. Possibly it’s to take risks and be willing to fail. Perhaps it’s to forgive. Whatever the reason, we must embrace it.
With every profound experience, a lesson emerges for me. For this one, I can only use the words of my all-time favorite, Dave Matthews:
Take nothing for granted. Not a thing. I know I never will again.
I don’t know about you, but too much of my time is spent sitting down. I’m either driving or planted behind a laptop for 12 hours a day and it’s no surprise I have knots in my back as well as my legs.
A standing desk is a genius idea that’s been around forever and could use a comeback, in my opinion. Sitting is a killer and I, for one, need a change.
Check out The Violet Femmes blog post on the topic and consider it. Would you make the transition and stand?
It’s no secret I love my wine. Okay, that’s an understatement. Wine is my staple beverage of choice and without it, well, I’d be on pills.
I often wonder why it’s specifically wine I love and not just any kind of booze. I also wonder where my obsession with this adult fruit juice came from and when it actually started. I feel like it happened somewhere in my third decade when wine coolers and forties no longer seemed suitable for a classy lady. Or a classy lady wannabe, in my case.
Let’s face it – I went to West Virginia University. This girl has had her share of drinks and wine was just another one in the mix. Maybe not for a flip cup competition, but definitely at the bar. All things considered, a person can get just as buzzed drinking beer as they can from drinking wine. Some people even think beer tastes better. Go figure!
So, I decided to test my theory and find out once and for all what this love of wine is all about. Specifically, can I blame it on the alcohol?
Test #1: Pale Ale
There’s nothing more refreshing than a freezing cold beer with a slice of lemon/lime/orange – take your pick. It brings me back to my WVU tailgating days when I could be found shot-gunning a can of the cheapest beer around. Now my bottle of special brew is koozie’d up and sipped instead of chugged.
And I love it. I really do. On a hot summer day or during football season it’s perfection. Yet, a few is all it takes until I’m cheating on my citrus barley with – you’ve guessed it – wine. It never fails.
Test #2: Hard Cider (or “cedar” as the commercial says)
Embracing the unknown was easy with this beer-like drink that took fruit drinking in booze to another (sweeter) level – hard apple cider. When it first hit my lips, I actually felt guilty. I was seriously considering my relationship with wine and thought maybe I’d been wrong all along. Sure, I’d loved my wine, but I’d never known hard cider before. Its cool and crisp flavor put all of my taste buds on high alert. Not only was it delicious, but it was thirst quenching. And with less alcohol, three hard ciders was the equivalent of one glass of wine. Easy peasy.
But as the day went on, I realized my love-at-first sip was simply lust. Powerful at first, and then fading fast. I like cider and I’ll have it again, although sparingly. So, I went back to the one I’d been even more convinced I still loved – my beautiful wine.
Test #3: Sangria (or any typical fruity, boozy drink)
In summer, you can’t escape Sangria recipes on Pinterest no matter how hard you try. They’re everywhere begging to opened and pinned. And with barbecues all weekend long, I fell victim to the sugary pitcher full of goodness like everyone else. I’m one of those people who loves to make sangria for guests, usually having a glass or two for taste, but that’s where it ends.
Thanks to Pinterest, I was armed with a lineup of sangria concoctions and decided that during the first real party of the season I was going to drink sangria, and only sangria, all day long like the rest of my crew. I have to say the wine based drink almost had me. I loved the idea of the summery drink in my hand. I blended in with the party people all sangria’d up. It was a crowd pleaser all around.
Yet deep down inside, I was terribly jealous of the woman somewhere in the world drinking her Pinot Noir – aged and delicious – from her perfect glass. And then I felt sad for my sangria – a poor man’s wine. I recognized these emotions because they seemed absurd.
For goodness sake, it’s just a drink! Or is it?
The love of my liquid life. The one and the only….
In the end, I’ve ruled out alcohol. I can’t blame it on my wine obsession, sorry Jaime Foxx. Drinking wine isn’t about drinking at all. Wine is a full range of emotions wrapped in one perfect package. When lust, jealousy and elation come together, it can only mean one thing. True love.
People may come and go, but wine is there through the good times and the bad. Wine lovers know this whole heartedly. When moments in life are to be celebrated or to be mourned, we bring wine along for the ride. Sure, we’ll have our affair with other booze at times, but wine is our deepest of loves.
And the answer is clear. For me at least. Wine is more than a drink. It’s an experience. An image. An emotion. A memory. It’s a love that I’ll never let go.
I’m (second from the left) with my great friends, including wine, at Working Dog Winery celebrating my birthday.
With this realization, I feel the need to give a resounding “Cheers!” to all of the non-wine drinkers in the world. Because in the end, if you’re getting what you want from your libation relations, then you’re bound to fall in love too.