A Year of gifts
SOMETIMES THE ROADBLOCKS, SETBACKS, AND HEARTBREAKS OF LIFE TURN OUT TO BE THE GREATEST GIFTS OF ALL . . .
Springtime brings us powerful reminders of the beauty of new beginnings.
Flower bulbs sleep through the brutal cold of winter, blanketed by layers of soil and snow, their beauty and fragrance hidden from the world. But inevitably, there is a spark, an awakening of sorts. First, only the tiniest of shoots are visible, peaking through the topsoil, a mere hint of what's to come.
Sunshine and fresh air welcome the new growth. If you were to sit quietly on the bright green grass and stare intently at the miniature shoot, it would appear as though nothing is happening. But rest assured, growth is occurring, even when it isn't evident to the naked eye. Walk away, go about this business of life, and give the flower time to mature. Time to absorb nutrients from the soil, from the rain, and from the sun. Return another day. You will be rewarded for your patience.
Chances are the little shoot has gone through a miraculous transformation while you weren't looking. Now there are leaves, unfurled and reaching for the sky. Perhaps there is a tight new bud, still hiding its most beautiful colors, not yet ready to open up and share its most vibrant part. But you know it won't take much longer. Again, you need to give it just a bit more time.
And suddenly, there is a riot of color. Fragile petals quiver in the breeze; gorgeous reds or purples or yellows stand out in stark contrast to deep green foliage. There is a freshness to the very air around you.
We can't take the beauty of the blooms for granted. Part of the magic of their splendor is in their fleeting nature. Pay attention and enjoy the grandeur while it lasts.
Is this process really any different from anything new we decide to pursue or create?
Initially, something starts out as nothing more than a seed of an idea, deep in our brains or in our hearts. Then there is that spark, that inkling or intuition or whatever you want to call it, that starts giving the idea energy. The energy will lead to exploration and consideration. While nothing yet is visible on the surface, the hard work has begun, deep down, away from prying eyes.
Eventually, there may be just a tiny bit of visible progress, like the little shoot poking out of the ground.
A songwriter has strung a few introductory notes together, or an artist has laid the first brush stroke on a white canvas. But then perhaps progress stalls. More materials are needed, more knowledge must be gathered, or more experiences gained. She is working hard on her idea, but to the casual observer, nothing much is happening yet. The observer may lose interest and walk away, leaving her to her silent vigil to bring her idea to life.
Like the flowers of springtime, perhaps some leaves have started to unfurl on her idea. But she hasn't yet reached her highest aspirations. She needs to keep working, keep feeding, keep tweaking her work. Some days it will feel pointless, as if the end will never be reached. But as long as she keeps going and never, ever quits, that tight little bud will form. She's nearly made it. She knows the prize, the beautiful thing she's worked so hard to accomplish, is inside that little bud. She may be tempted to rush things, to pry open the bud, and reach the finish line faster. But rushing things before they are ready can kill the dream. The work has to be done, and the time has to pass before she can reap the beauty.
And then, one day, it blossoms. She set out to accomplish something new, and through tenacity, hard work, and persistence, the day finally arrives for her to enjoy the things she's worked so hard to accomplish. And for the rest of the world to enjoy it, too.
Some will say her success is mere luck. They'll fail to understand all the blood, sweat, and tears that she poured into her dream. But she knows. She will know exactly what it took to accomplish her goal, and it feels that much more special when she reaches the top of her mountain because she knows what all it took to get there.
Look around, and you'll see this playing out everywhere around you in the springtime. Birds are gathering tiny bits of string and vegetation, fashioning them into nests to house their babies. Children, grown now, are walking across stages, draped in gowns and sporting mortarboards, traversing the path from their high school or college days to whatever it is that they've chosen to pursue next in their own lives. They started on this path, barely able to hold a pencil to write their names. Now, they can operate handheld devices that give them the ability to reach into the deepest corners of our globe with only a few taps of a screen. They’ve grown, learned and somehow morphed into young adults.
Like the miracle of the blossoming of a flower, another wave of young adults will flow out into the world, intent on improving every possible part of the earth we live on. It's likely we didn't notice their growth every day. It might have been too minuscule to see, but it was there nonetheless, building and shaping them into the people they are today: ready…or nearly ready…to take on the world.
What idea has been niggling at you, deep in your brain or your heart? Springtime is the perfect time to nurture that idea and start doing what needs to be done to bring it to fruition. What thing of beauty will you coax out of your brain and into the world? The possibilities are endless. The world needs you and the vision you bring to it.
And just like the perennial flower bud, the cycle can repeat itself. This year's spring blossoms will fade and fall away. But it isn't death. It is merely an opportunity to rest, begin to gather strength, and start all over again on the path of growth.
Celebrate the beauty of spring flowers, the achievements of our children, and the fruition of your own dreams. Enjoy the freshness, the parties, the successes, and then let it all begin again. And never, ever quit just before the bud opens.
Always cheering you on, Kim
Are you good at accepting help from others? Or do you prefer to try to do things on your own, muddling through because you don't want to bother anyone? Maybe you even think it's faster to do everything yourself.
I used to hang out squarely in the middle of the "don't ask for help" camp . . . but not anymore.
I think part of my resistance to asking is because I hate to admit when I don't know how to do something. I can be a tiny bit stubborn that way. How about you?
During these past couple of hectic years spent chasing this dream of mine to write and publish novels people actually want to read, I've learned some essential lessons. I now understand that asking for help is a crucial component on the road to success. So is accepting help when it's offered. Going it alone makes for a much slower and much lonelier journey. Plus, if you open yourself up to more possibilities, you get to meet some awesome people along the way.
Besides, it should be a two-way street.
We all have ways we can help other people. We have skills we can share, learnings from our own journeys, and encouragement we can offer others.
Writing can be a solitary pursuit. On Saturday, I spent three hours in a coffee shop, took a quick break to enjoy lunch with my daughter, and then holed up for another two hours in my office, working hard on edits of my third novel. But unlike the hours spent writing the first draft, now I'm looking at the book through the eyes of my editor, and his assistance makes it all so much better.
A few months back, I saw a post on a local Facebook group. An author was curious about how she might be able to get her book into local stores. Since I'd been lucky enough to have already done a bit of this, we decided to meet for coffee and talk about how she might be able to take this next step in her author and artistic journey.
First three of us, and now four of us, started meeting monthly to share and compare learnings and help each other out where we can. I'm happy to report Traci's book, sporting vibrant illustrations she does herself, is now available at Zandbroz, the premier independent bookstore here in Fargo, ND.
Her book is the brightly colored one in the middle titled "Eleven" by Traci Sethre. It's so fun to see our books displayed close together! My two are in the bottom left-hand corner (Whispering Pines and Tangled Beginnings). It just so happens that the book next to mine titled "North Dakota Tough" was written by another local author friend and well-known sports writer, Jeff Kolpack. Jeff helped me get my books into Zandbroz.
Yesterday, 4/27/19, was Independent Bookstore Day, a day set aside to celebrate books and those that help bring them to you. If you weren't able to stop in to a bookstore yesterday and get a copy of that book you've been meaning to read, go do it today.
But I apologize, talking about books distracts me. Now to get back to my "topic of the day" on collaboration.
Traci is a talented author and shares her work on Instagram. I've been wanting to get started on the Instagram platform but struggled to make the time to figure it out (of course, I tried to do it by myself first, but got nowhere). Traci has been kind enough to meet not only with me but also a small group of other local business owners to share pointers about how best to utilize the social media outlet. Thanks in large part to Traci, I now have an IG account, and I've even made a few posts, with many more to come as I learn the ropes.
I'm loving the visual aspect of Instagram and discovering all the other authors and avid readers, sharing books and inspiration. If you are already on Instagram, I'd love for you to find me there so we can follow each other. You'll find me at @kimberlydiedeauthor.
Our collaboration is helping us both, plus it's fun to make new friends at the same time.
Recently, another author reached out to me when she stumbled across my author page on Amazon. In addition to penning her own novels, Susan Winters writes a blog featuring people who work to balance creative pursuits with a full-time job. How cool is that?
When I checked out her website, and her header was this artistic shot of a pine cone, I knew I needed to find ways to work with Susan (I often use pine cones when displaying my books-it was a good sign). Susan kindly offered to feature an interview of me on her blog, and it went live yesterday. Please click here to check out my interview and Susan's other work.
If you or someone you know is also enjoying a creative pursuit on the side while working a “day” job, please reach out to me and I can help you connect with Susan. Or reach out to her directly. Another ND author friend of mine, Katherine Pendergast (Kat Socks), is scheduled to be featured in Susan's weekly blog on June 15, 2019. I was delighted to help connect the two.
I won't lie. Sometimes it's hard to balance it all. But connecting with others that find joy in similar pursuits can be so rewarding. They can help light your path when your own light dims under the weight of the pressure of not knowing enough or when you're feeling like you're stuck.
There is always someone out there that is able, and willing, to help show you how to get unstuck.
Isn't making connections with others what life is all about?
In the words of Albert Einstein: Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.
If there is something you want to learn more about, find someone willing to give you a helping hand.
Thank you, Susan, Traci, Kat, Jeff, and others for helping me along this path. You all inspire me with what you've already accomplished, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for each of you!
How can I help you? Kim
Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Kimberly Diede and I'm a self-published fiction author and family girl. When time permits, I am happiest with a great cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. I love to alternate between reading and writing. Winters here can be long, dark and cold. Summers are unpredictable, lovely and always too short. Every season of the year, as in every season of life, is a gift. Let's celebrate it together!