Posts Tagged With: Inspiration

Budgeting… Heart, Mind and Soul


We’ve talked about the importance of budgeting our time, our goals, and our resources.  Now, I need to get to the core of our being, because no matter what we decide to do on the outside, we have to have balance in our core.  I’m talking about budgeting our hearts, minds and souls.

What exactly is a budget?  A budget is as system itemizing something we have, want, or need, and breaking it down into increments of debits and credits, incoming and outgoing, supply and demand, etc.  It’s assessing what we have and developing a system to gain what we need.  If we don’t make an honest assessment, we can make erroneous decisions that will cause us to over-budget or under-budget and fail. To reach success, we have to clearly see the path to that success, and then be faithful and committed to the budget we set to reach that desired success.  We could get lucky, but luck always runs out. We’ve got to take control of our life, our choices, and our successes and failures.

Other resources we often overlook when we make a budget for our lives are those intangible resources, but happen to be the most essential in our success or failures of all other budgets.  Just as important as budgeting our money, we have to budget our heart, our mind and our souls.  We can over-extend ourselves, or under-utilize our potential by ignoring these resources.  These are essentially that define who we are – the core of being a human. These are the elements that directly lead to our successes and failures, our happiness or depression, or our love or indifference.

Heart – We have to budget our hearts.  We have to set a limit on the things, people, and focus we allow to affect our hearts.  We can set our affection on the wrong things or people that will hurt us, destroy us, and even break us.  We can also put too much focus on our heart, letting it lead us blindly, become obsessive over something or someone, and it will unbalance us.  Balance is key.  YES, love!!!! Oh, Mylanta, allow ourselves at times to get lost in our emotions. Enjoy the euphoria or pain of it, but we must keep it in balance.  We can’t get blind and stupid by love to the point we lose sight of everything else, especially what we want and need, and who we are. That’s unhealthy and it becomes detrimental to any dreams we’ve planned or hoped to succeed. We also can’t chase our dreams without love, without using our hearts. If we close our hearts because we’ve been hurt, or we have failed before, or we are too afraid, then we’ve already failed. It means nothing.  We can gain the world, but what good is it if we are indifferent?  Indifference means not caring at all or feeling nothing – which is worse than hate. Hate is at least passionate.  Indifference is void of passion.  Indifference is cowardice.   Without heart, we will give up, because it is our love for ourselves, for the dreams we have, for our family and the people we care about, that pushes us, inspires us, and gives everything we do meaning. Even God says that there are three essential things in this life – Faith, Hope and Love, and of those three, Love is the greatest. We can’t choose to love everyone and everything, nor can we choose to love nothing or no one. Protect our love.  Protect what and who we set our affections toward.

Mind – we have to budget our minds.  If we set our minds to too many things, and not balance it out, we will spend too much of one of our most valuable assets in the wrong area, on the wrong thing, or the wrong person, and not give the attention and focus we need to our goals, dreams, and aspirations.  We have to protect our minds, protect what we focus on, what we allow to distract us.  We can ‘check-out’ sometimes because life is hard.  Many times, instead of focusing on what I needed, I allowed myself to be distracted by the wrong things or person to avoid thinking about the hard things.  I’d “check-out”.  I’ve also allowed myself to focus too much, to the point of obsession, and neglected to focus on other areas of my life. Neither was healthy or productive.  There has to be a balance. We have to budget our minds and limit the things we focus on, allow distracting us, or taking up our time.  Write out a list of what we want and need, and then protect our minds and do what we need to keep and maintain a balance to our focus.

Soul – this one is the part of us that we often neglect most.  It’s that inner-being, and many of us can’t even recognize it. We try to numb it, ignore it, or control it.  We can’t.  This is core of who we are, and I believe this is the being that continues beyond our existence, beyond this physical plane, beyond this life. We have to budget for and with our souls. We have to make time for this part of us. What good is it to gain the world, but lose our souls?  To allow life, people, circumstances, guilt, pain, and all other bullshit to come in destroy our souls?  We can lie to the world. We can lie to ourselves, but our souls know who we are, what we really want, what we really need.  We have to protect our souls – cut the vampires out of our lives, allow love into our lives, let love fill us, and then through our souls, let that love back out into the world around us. There are soulless people in this world. There is darkness and evil. I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced it.  This world is so full of hateful, mean-spirited, selfish, awful people, but we don’t have to be one of them. It’s so important to protect and nourish our souls.

These are the keys to success – in EVERY area of life. We only get one. We only live ONCE.  We only have a tiny portion of this existence to make a difference, to be counted, to have purpose.  WE control what those are by how we budget our lives by the choices me make. Make good ones. Choose love.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Blog Post, Dream, Dreams, Faith, family, Philosophy, Relationships, respect, Spiritual | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cherish the Moments

Cherish the Moments

Cherish the moments, you know the ones I’m talking about, the moments that make you feel alive, exuberant, loved.  Cherish the moments of happiness and peace.  Cherish the moments of being admired and admiring, of astonishment, and of joy.  Cherish the moments, because moments like that don’t happen every day.

While we are in the good moments, we can’t even really comprehend the gray days, the dark times, the pain, or the circumstances that brought us to those low points, because we’re lost in the moment of temporary joy.  We want those moments to last forever, but they don’t.  They will go, but while we are in them, cherish them.

I’m trying so hard to live everyday… in THAT day.  I’m trying so hard to live in THOSE moments.  But, in order to fully LIVE in the cherished moments, I have to also live in the gray time, the stormy times, the empty times, the lonely times, and the scared times too.

I hate it when someone has just fallen in love and some ass wipe comes along and tries to spread misery and make the new lovebird feel bad about being happy.  We should be happy for them, even in the middle of our misery, our single lonely status.   Be happy for them because their euphoria won’t last forever.  Dark days are ahead for them, but allow them this time to stand in the sunshine.  Give them something to hold onto during the storms that are going to come in their life.  Be happy for them for this time, and maybe,  just maybe they’ll be happy for you when your time comes around.

Your time, my time, will come around too.  I know while in the darkness, while in the storm, while in the desert, it’s hard to believe, hell, it’s even hard to hope that tomorrow, or a few tomorrows from now, our time in the sunlight will come.  But, it will come.  That’s how the universe works. No matter how we perceive others, and we think everyone else has it easier, better, happier, or luckier than we do… EVERYONE  has pain, everyone has darkness, everyone has fear, everyone goes through their gray days, but not everyone makes it through to the other side. Only the strong of mind and the strongest of hearts live to see another sunrise.

There have been times when I came very close to giving up on life altogether.  There have been many times I thought of taking my life and ending my pain, because I couldn’t see a way to survive, a way to overcome, a way back into the sunlight.  I felt broken, unlovable, unworthy… but I held on and gave it one more moment, gave it one more day, gave it one more chance.  Am I in the sunlight now?  No.  I’m probably the loneliest I’ve ever been in my life, but I’ve learned to cherish the beautiful moments I’ve already had. When those dark thoughts come, and they do come – a lot, I grab one of those beautiful moments, and I hold onto it as tight as I can, and I remember… I remember the joy, I remember the happiness, I remember the love… and I breathe.

As I wrote in my musing this morning:  Life is hard. Living is hard. Love is hard.  I suppose if these things were easy I wouldn’t appreciate them.  I know darkness, I know emptiness, I know pain, and that knowledge makes me truly appreciate the light, the love, the beauty of being in love, of being happy, of being hopeful… today, right now in this moment.  Who knows, maybe today I’ll get to dance in the sunlight.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Musing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lover of Words

Lover of Words

I love words.  I love reading them, hearing them, saying them, texting them, receiving them, having them whispered to me, etc.  Most of all, I love learning new ones.  I love long ones, short ones, scientific ones, poetic ones, sexy ones, big ones, small ones, complicated to pronounce words, especially beautiful words.

Learning words is exciting, but it’s not a race.  Don’t get into a hurry. It’s not about how many words you can memorize, but really learning the one’s you come across.  Research them, apply them, say them, hear them, and use them in a sentence; try them out.  Some of them work and become part of your vocabulary, they steal a piece of your heart.  But then some of them just don’t feel right, just don’t click, so let them go – having enjoyed them for that moment, but move on to the next word that comes along.

Words turn my head much the way a good-lookin’ body catches my eye.  Don’t get me wrong, a beautiful pair of eyes, a sexy smile, and a healthy fit body turns my head and I enjoy the moment.  But, I’m such a dork for a beautifully constructed word.  I melt when a term is applied in an exciting, adventurous manner.

Satisfying the body is easy, ridiculously too easy.  But satiating the mind?  I don’t know if it’s just the times in which we live, or perhaps it’s because I live in the present, therefore pay more attention to my surroundings, it seems the world is filled with a bunch of zombies – brainless idiots following base desires to fulfill single lusts and needs.   Maybe it’s just regional, because I might meet 1 in 10 that seem to have a spark of genuine intelligence, a sense of seeking, a smidge of knowing, or an appearance of life and a thirst for knowledge.

Don’t you find it funny that the thing zombies crave most are brains and life, things they’re not using.  They don’t go after the brains of other zombies, only the gray matter of those who are awake. (Don’t laugh… I know you’ve had those same nerdy thoughts.)

Want to impress me or catch my attention?  Introduce me to a new word.  If you want to seduce my body, you’ll first have to seduce my mind.  Society has it backwards – they are so focused on satisfying the flesh, usually ignoring the mind, thinking the mind and heart will follow if they can first satisfy the body and the eyes.  Just so you know – the eye is NEVER satisfied, so said King Solomon in Proverbs.  Maybe physical attraction is most important for the general populace, but I’m not an average, general, regular, or common woman.  I’m strange; peculiar.  The only way you could ever satisfy me physically is to have first intrigued me intellectually and touched me emotionally.

So, learn a new word today.  Ponder a mystery.  Think outside your box.  Share that word.  Feed your brain. Expand your mind.  Who knows …you might like it.

Till next time,

~Lover of Words

This post reminds me of a poem I wrote once called ‘My Muse, My Master, My Lover’

My Muse, My Master, My Lover

Swirling dreams and vain imaginations fill my mind, pierce my heart and tease my senses. When I think I have enough inspiration to dip my pen into the ethereal ink, my Muse assaults me.  I call it an assault, because it comes violently, suddenly, and overwhelms my sanity. My pen forgotten, my ink spilled.  I’m lost …yet I’m found.

Like warm hands on a cold night, my Muse reaches out and runs his fingers over my shoulder and down my arm, leaving a line of prickled goose bumps, and sending a shivering jolt through my center; my being.  No matter my intent, my will, my choice, my body betrays me and submits to the call of my Master.

Like a ray of sunshine after a torrential rain, my Muse kisses my brow, the tip of my nose, and then brushes my lips with his own, stirring my desires and inflaming my passions.  What once made rational sense, now seemed as compost; and the words of my Muse like a new dawn, a new day.

Like the birth of a brand new babe, after hours of hard labor, my Muse makes love to me, impregnates me and I conceive, giving new life to his gift. Plain black font transforms into golden swirls of tantalizing beauty; Words – the offspring of my Lover.

The dream clears and I pick up my pen, dipping into the remnants of spilled ink, place the sharpened tip to parchment and release the gift of my Muse, my Master, and my Lover.  I smile, for all is right in the world, and vain imaginations are now full of divine revelation. I write.

Categories: Blog Post, Inspirational, Musing, Philosophy, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stretched Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Stretched Beyond Your Comfort Zone


“I will not give that which costs me nothing,” ~King David.

“There can be no triumph without loss. No victory without suffering. No freedom without sacrifice.” J.R.R. Tolkien

“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”  ~Steve Jobs

When we set goals for ourselves, we are telling the universe that no matter what it plans for us, we are the captains of our lives and we determine the outcome.  However, making that grand gesture is only the first step.  Once we declare our intentions the universe conspires against us, pushes us to prove ourselves, tests our resolve, and stretches us beyond our comfort zones to see if we meant what we said or if we will falter. In our human frailty and weakness that is often what we do – fall.  Yet, we are not failures – unless we give up.  There’s no tally for how many times I’ve been knocked down and counted out, but I won’t give up. The universe may have given up on me, but I won’t give up on myself.

When we look around it ‘appears’ that others have it easier, but that’s because we’re often only looking at the things that give us the most difficulty.  We ALL have struggles, but they may be in different areas.  It seems my hardest struggles are in love and health, while others struggle with success and happiness, and others peace and addictions. The list goes on and on. We are individuals, unique, and precious. It would be great if we were all born to the same opportunities and face the same struggles.

It’s not fair.

Life isn’t fair.

We have to get this ‘fairness’ idea out of our heads and quit comparing ourselves to others.  Face our troubles and realize we all struggle in one way or another. Not one of us is perfect or without hardship. Not one!

We need to help encourage one another.  I can’t begin to express how much the love and encouragement from my closest friends has meant to me this past couple of years. There were days I felt lower than dirt, didn’t even want to live because the pain and heartache hurt so much.  I still sometimes have those days.  But all it took was a kind word, a simple expression of love, a bit of encouragement and not judgment from my friends to lift me out of those dark places.  We all visit them from time to time.  Not one of us has our ‘shit’ together all the time.

If we can clear up our thinking and start encouraging ourselves and one another, knowing that our journey will have some hard days, determine in our hearts that our dreams and hopes are worth the sacrifices they will require, and surround ourselves with people who will love and encourage us when we have dark days and not judge us, then we can begin to move those mountains.

I keep coming back to a Lucy Spraggan song called “Mountains” and there’s a line that tugs my heart every time – “I know what you’re scared of, I can feel it too.  You’re not scared of climbing mountains; you’re scared you can’t make them move.”

God knows I’ve got huge mountains in front of me. We all do; I’m not alone in this venture. But, I do have something very precious …I have friends who truly love me. They don’t just tell me with their lips while judging me and reminding me of my faults.  They love me in spite of them.  I love them more than I can ever express. They’re not perfect, they have their own battles and weaknesses, but they’re perfect for me. They stretch me often beyond my comfort zone – pushing me forward when all I want to do is lie down and give up. It’s not all laughs and good times – more often its arguments and frustration – because they care enough to tell me the truth. They don’t give up on me, when I’m sure they feel like it …often, perhaps daily.  They are more precious to me than any success, fame, recognition, money, or treasure. They are ‘love’. Sure, I want to be ‘in love’ and have a great romance, but the love I have for and from my friends… is so much more than a flight of fancy.

To my friends… you know who you are… I love you.  Thank you for loving me.

So the next time you feel the pressure and the struggle of the goals you’ve set for yourself, remember you’re not alone, you’re a member of the human race.  And if you don’t have a friend or two around you who will love you and stretch you beyond your comfort zone, start looking for them.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Blog Post, Health & Fitness, Inspirational, Musing, Spiritual, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Detours, Assessments, and Adjustments of Goals and Dreams


I can’t express how important it is to keep our goals and dreams in front of us.  Life has a way of coming in and disrupting our plans, getting our feet off our chosen paths, and throwing in twists, turns, roadblocks, detours, and obstacles.  That’s normal.  Being human means being able to adapt and adjust to the situations and circumstances that come at us.  But if we are ever to fulfill our dreams and goals, we must continually be reminded of them, keep them posted in front of us, keep them shining like the North Star to be used as our guiding point and our compass. We need to constantly remind ourselves what we want to achieve, accomplish and experience in this life, assess our actions, adjust our options, and make necessary decisions.

Yes, we can and will experience all those unexpected and unplanned things, and many of them will be wonderful, will enrich our lives, and will change our directions.  Sometimes, its okay to shift and adapt – we become better for it.  The key is to be in control of those changes so that we don’t lose the goals and dreams we set for ourselves.  This is the only way to not to be filled with a lot of regret because of forgotten, lost, and unfulfilled dreams.

Take a few moments today and remember your dreams, write down your goals, repeat them to yourself.  Take an assessment, look at your North Star,  and then determine if you need a readjustment to get you back on your chosen path or  if you need to select a new one.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray


Here is an updated status report and reminder to myself concerning my 2014 resolutions:

  1. No more grieving. (I’ve had a moment or two, but for the most part, I’ve been smiling, hopeful and looking forward to the future. I’m happy.  I’m really happy.)
  2. Fitness: Run a 5k (no walking), lose 50 more lbs, and get more fit(I’ve scheduled (5) five runs and will start back running/jogging on Monday – needed to heal from a sprain and sickness.  Joined three fitness challenges (Get Healthy West Georgia, Times-Georgian – Get Fit, and the 30-Day Arm Challenge), started a hula-hoop, sit-up, stair, and salsa-dancing routine.  So far I’ve officially lost 4.5 lbs  – 45.5 more to go.)
  3. Go on a real romantic date. (Still working on this one.  Got close – actually planned one. Maybe soon I will make it a reality. It’s still early, and I’ve got plenty of time.)
  4. Take a vacation to one of my dream spots . (Making plans for a road trip in a smokin’ hot Mustang convertible with a girlfriend in late June: Chicago to GreenBay and throughout parts of the Great Lakes.)
  5. Finish one of my novels (completed and edited). (Started editing Hunter & Chase and wrote my first Character Blog post. Need to refocus and get busy.)
  6. Sign and promote at least (5) five new authors with North Star. (Got several queries and submissions to weed through.)
  7. Save at least ¼ of the money I need to move to the PNW. ($200 in the pot.)
  8. Climb and descend the 605 steps at Amicalola Falls. (YES… DONE, DONE, DONE!!!!)
  9. Hike at least 50 miles of the Appalachian Trial (not at the same time.) (7.5 miles completed, 42.5  miles left to go.)
  10. Go White Water Rafting (Tentative trip planned in late July. Maybe I can combine this with the date.)
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Hope Rises

Quote & Photo  by T.L. Gray

Quote & Photo by T.L. Gray

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Someday – The Next Big Thing


Photo by T.L. Gray – Skies over Seattle, Washington – 05/30/2013

I can’t but help move around in my desk chair to the beat of the song by the Rags cast, featuring Max Schneider, called “Someday”.   I really want to get up and dance, but more than the need to move to the groove with my hips, shoulders and feet, it’s the message of the song that really stirs something inside my heart.  This is the song my soul cries out … and I’m listening.  

Are you?


I follow my dreams
You’d think they were nightmares the way they scream
I’ll make them believe (whoa)
Someday, someday I’m gonna be the next big thing

I never doubt my dreams always live em out
Ima tell the world
They gotta hear me out
Just give me one mic
So I can scream it loud
And I just need someone that I can make proud
Cause I can’t wait for that someday
And that someday it is coming
I wanna share my life with someone who loves me just for me

Hey Hey

I wanna wish up to the stars i can
I wanna see the lights in the crowd in the stands
See myself there like a dream in the past
And everything I want Ima get it at last Okay
And I know that there’s no limit
We’re pursuing all our dreams and
We gon’ make it
And tell the world that the best is yet to come
Can you hear me? Oh

I follow my dreams
You’d think they were nightmares the way they scream
I’ll make them believe (whoa)
Someday, someday I’m gonna be the next big thing

Someday I’ll be the next big thing (the next big thing)
Someday I’ll be the next big thing (the next big thing)
Someday I’ll be the next big thing (the next big thing)
Someday, someday I’m gonna be the next big thing

Now that I’m older I think about it
I was really having fun, too cool about it
I guess mom was predicting the future
She knew that one day I was gonna move ya Okay, Okay
But now I see everything a little different
The world looks bigger and the sky is the limit
I’m always looking out for myself and family
They gonna be surprised shoutin’ out ooo-eee

I got it everything my mama wanted from me
I got it anybody come and take it from me
I got it cause it’s all us
I’m so close I can dream about it
I can feel I got it (music) I’m all about it
I’m here to make a change Ima be about it
I didn’t come this far to stop now
And I can’t rest until I get my dreams out the clouds

I follow my dreams
You’d think they were nightmares the way they scream
I’ll make them believe (whoa)
Someday, someday I’m gonna be the next big thing

Someday I’ll be the next big thing (the next big thing)
Someday I’ll be the next big thing (the next big thing)
Someday I’ll be the next big thing (the next big thing)
Someday, someday I’m gonna be the next big thing

One day I’m gonna be king of the palace
When I reign there’ll be no imbalance
(everything will be okay)
Every single day, all day
You can follow me,
If you wanna go,
Ima take the lead
I got the star roll,
Twinkle in the night
Like the star goes
When you see us you know the next big thing!

Someday I’ll be the next big thing (the next big thing)


Till next time,

~T.L. Gray



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Ruined Lives


I’m no stranger to tragedy or chaos coming in and ruining my life.  It’s happened many times, but like a cat I keep landing on my feet.  I keep getting up and trudging forward.  What else do I have?  What else can I do?  Lay there and die?  Well, yeah… but I suppose I’m too stubborn or too stupid to do that. 

I can’t give a list of things that have come in and uprooted my life; there are just too many.  Also, some of the things that brought me down may not be a problem for others, yet held the power to destroy me.

I can’t tell which hurts the most, because I still wear the scars and feel the pain from time to time.  Scars are reminders of those battles, and I believe they hold within them part of the original pain.

I can’t tell which disasters were my fault or from which I was the victim.  All left residual marks, all bore harsh consequences, and all required their pound of flesh.

All I can tell you is that I’m still here. I’m still alive. I’m still breathing.  Though it’s hard sometimes to inhale and exhale, I am able to fill my lungs. Hope stirs for a better tomorrow.  I can’t say anything about the day after.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray


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Ghostly Image


Photo by T.L. Gray – French doors to my new apartment.

I don’t know a whole lot about souls.  I can’t see one, can’t prove they exist in a court of law, and can’t give scientific evidence to establish any claims, but I can say this:  who I was a year ago is not the same person I am today, and hold hope to be different tomorrow.  I’m in transition from one reality to the next; one state of being into another; cocoon into butterfly.  However, in this transition, I’m afraid of losing some of the best parts of me with the worst, or losing myself altogether.  But I take comfort in Bukowski’s quote, because he’s right.  The fact I worry about losing parts of me, means I’ve still got those parts left to lose.

I’m going through a marital separation and in the process find the dissolution of the relationship is only one piece of the development.  Pulling our lives apart has many threads, many rungs and affects every section of my life; and the disconnection is very painful and confusing; my soul being divided. One part of me grieves for what was and could have been, yet another part of me is excited and hopeful for what can now be, but the whole thing is terrifying. 

Another thing I notice during this transformation… I can be really solid one minute and completely feeble the next; a ghostly image of my former and future selves. I’d love for everyone to only witness my strong moments, but I can’t – hell, I refuse to – hide my weak ones, because they’re evidence my soul still thrives and fights for life.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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The Joy of Writing


Today is the halfway mark in the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge, the fifteenth day of thirty days and nights of literary abandon to write a 50,000 word novel.  I’m excited to say that I’m well beyond the mid-point curve, facing less than 3,000 words to win the challenge, and perhaps 15,000 words to complete the novel.  My biggest testament of this contest – for the past fifteen days I have relished the true joy of writing.  It’s not only exciting, frustrating, cathartic and even a touch erotic, but truly one of the few things in which I participate that brings me complete joy.


I wake in the mornings with an excitement and an urgency to get started, and quickly jump into my writing regiment (make a thermos full of coffee, get my particular snacks out, pre-make lunch, start the background music, pull out my notes, adjust the office lighting and temperature, and then boot my computer).


I believe we are all made for a particular purpose, a specific task in this life.  I’ve done many things in my life, held many different jobs, walked in many different levels of income, success and social standing.  By the world’s standards, choosing to be an author and spending the majority of my days writing, editing and marketing my finished products, is not considered a rational, practical or  a socially accepted form of employment; where success is measured in sales, networking and social status instead of content and creativity.


I thank God I’ve discovered my purpose, because in it I’ve found my joy.  I know the world is set against me, to steal that happiness and rob me of its presence and its benefits.  I have to protect it, like a valued treasure.  I have to purge those obstacles from my life, encourage myself daily, and stand firm the course set before me.  Some days it’s a challenge, but most days, I do with a smile on my face.


I wish this sense of fulfillment and purpose for everyone.  While we are approaching the joy of the holiday seasons, I’m blessed I’ve found something that brings me joy every day.


Till next time,

~T.L. Gray


P.S. For my fellow NaNoWrimers – keep going.  You’re halfway there! You can do it!

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