Best Books Of The Month

I am so excited. Take Me Home made Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke’s Best Books of the Month for the March 2015 Edition.

Check out their website. They have a really fun biography, a great story, and some books of their own.

And don’t forget to grab a copy of Take Me Home. The Kindle version is on sale this week for $2.05.

http://www.lizandlisa.com/blog/

A St. Patrick’s Day Phone Call

We ate the corned beef a day early. I went grocery shopping at Publix, where of course the corned beef was on sale. Because it’s only the two of us these days, I searched the shelf for a small one. Then I bought sauerkraut, Irish Swiss cheese –I know. Who knew there was such a thing — and marble rye.

I’m sure you thought I was going to say I bought carrots, cabbage, and potatoes. Although my husband is also half Irish, he hates corned beef and cabbage. Every year the girls and I would eat the boiled dinner and he would make himself a Reuben. Then they started wanting a Reuben. Now I’m making two dinners? I complained. So, I gave up on the boiled dinner and we all ate Reuben’s.

I am working all day in Pompano Beach on St. Patrick’s Day, so when I got home I put the corned beef in a pot of water with the seasoning packet that came with the meat and as it simmered in the pot, I called my eighty-two-year old father. My sister had told me he was in a minor accident. It happened in a grocery store parking lot. A ninety-three year old lady hit his driver’s side door. No, he doesn’t live in Florida. This happened in Warwick, Rhode Island. Luckily, no one was hurt.

I told him I was cooking corned beef.

“Tomorrow’s St. Patrick’s Day.”

“I know, but I work all day and don’t get home ’til six. I sold my crockpot at the yard sale when we sold the house.” I didn’t tell him about the Reubens.

“Did you buy the red corned beef?” he asks.

“Yes.” We always buy the red corned beef. I am not sure what makes it red. I am not sure what kind of meat it is, but apparently there is also brown corned beef. I think it might be called brisket. Which is a Jewish dish my father would tell you. We never buy that one. The Irish eat red corned beef.

There is a well repeated story in our family of how my mother made the brown corned beef the first St. Patrick’s Day she was married to my father. She had only eaten corned beef once before, when she went to her future Irish in-laws for dinner. She is French Canadian. She didn’t know there were two kinds. Apparently my Dad was upset about the brown one but he grinned and ate it for his new bride. She never made the brown brisket again.

She cooked her corned beef and cabbage in a pressure cooker which used to scare the hell out of me. I always envisioned that whistling top flying off the pot and taking my eye out. My Irish mother-in-law cooked just about everything in her pressure cooker, including meat loaf and asparagus. The meatloaf was tasty, the asparagus was inedible. She also made a mean, as in good, Irish soda bread.

She told me a story about the time the top did fly off and hit the ceiling. I knew that thing was dangerous and could take your eye out. After she passed away, we sold not one but two pressure cookers at the yard sale.

My dad puts my mother on the phone. “It’s Sheila, your daughter in Florida,” he tells her before handing her the phone. We have our usual conversation. We start with the weather. I ask her if the  snow is melting. “Oh, I don’t know,” she says. “How do you like your place?”

We’re moving right to the real estate conversation. She knows she used to live in Florida. She can give you vague information about the places they lived in down here. She loves the place she lives in now along the Narragansett Bay. “It’s the best place we’ve ever lived.” She describes it to me as if I’ve never been there.

I tell her my place is very similar. “So you like your place, too?” she asks. I can tell from her voice she is asking this question with a smile. When she had more stories to tell, she would talk about how they moved from a smaller unit to the bigger one with the water view. She used to remember the real estate deals they made throughout the years although she doesn’t remember my name. Her homes are one of the last memories she holds on to.

That and cleaning the house. My parents came to Deerfield Beach this winter and stayed in a hotel room with a small living room. She told me, “This place is great. We really like it here. We have a maid but I told her she didn’t have to make the bed. I do that.”

“You know your mother,” my father said. “She always liked to clean.”

My sisters and I believe she would have made a wonderful real estate agent.

I asked her if they were having corned beef and cabbage tomorrow for St. Patrick’s day. She said, “I don’t remember what that is.” I could almost see her shrug her shoulders and smile. There was a time when forgetting made her nervous. I was happy to hear her matter of factly accept the fact she didn’t remember.

“That’s okay,” I said. “You never did like corned beef and cabbage.” I tell her about my husband making Reubens. She laughs but I’m not sure she understands my story.

My father comes back on the phone and tells me he invited a widow from church he and my mother have become friends with and my aunt, his sister, who lives in their condo complex, over for tea the other day. He went to the store and bought cookies to serve with the tea.

“Really?” I ask. My father is not a social butterfly. He likes his solo activities. Running, reading, biking. He only learned to cook when my mother no longer could.

“Well, I thought they should meet each other. They’re both alone.”

“And it’s good for you, too,” I said. “With Mom, you know?”

“Oh, she’s fine,” he says. “She does great. She does tell the same two stories over and over again, but she’s good.”

My father  amazes me. Never an openly affectionate man, his love for my mother during this difficult time has been truly beautiful. And he’s a very brave man. Not only did they recently fly to Florida, but last Fall they took a cruise along the Mississippi River. My siblings and I were very concerned about this. What if he loses her in the airport? She can’t walk well. What if she fell and broke her hip? But they loved the trip and my Dad was able to attend some lectures on U.S. History along the Mississippi. They ate at a blues club in Memphis. He’s talking about a trip along the Northern route next fall.

My husband made the monster Reuben’s last night. We once again joked about how our St. Patrick’s Day dinner has turned into a Jewish Deli sandwich.

When the meal was done and we were cleaning the kitchen, I wished I’d bought a larger red corned beef. There was hardly enough leftover for tomorrow’s lunch.

 

corned beef

As I shut off the light in the kitchen, I smiled as I was reminded of one of my favorite lines from Annie Hall.

“There’s an old joke – um… two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ‘em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.” Well, that’s essentially how I feel about life – full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it’s all over much too quickly. ” ~ Woody Allen as Alvy Singer in Annie Hall

Day Dream Believers: John Irish, Feeding The Soul

*** This is the 3rd blog in a series of interviews with baby boomers who are pursuing their dreams.

I met John Irish several years ago when I lived in New Hampshire. My friend, who was the number one hostess of the Wine Emergencies, lived across the street from him and his wife, Tammy. He and another neighbor put together a garage band that would play on Saturday nights and they eventually moved on to the bar at the Exeter Bowling Lanes. Their venues continued to grow. One of the last places I saw them play was in downtown Portsmouth, along the waterfront at Martingale Wharf.

He and his wife try to spend some time each winter in Delray Beach and since I’ve moved down here, we always make plans to get together. We recently met at the Old Key Lime House and I asked if he wanted to be a Day Dream Believer and he quickly obliged. He has a very interesting story.

You actually started out pursuing the dream? Tell me a little bit about that.

My best friend in high school had a guitar and his brother was in a band. We idolized them. He got me playing, and my older brother bought me a guitar. A few years later, I recorded an original record at a country western studio across from my house, and played in a local acoustic band. The record was one of those “sold on TV” deals. I think my mom bought most of the copies.

There was a country western music studio in Farmington, New Hampshire?

Yeah, there was a local couple who were big New England country stars and they built the recording studio across the street. A lot of country players from around the region recorded there.

I guess you never know where you’ll find your first break. What happened next?

After high school, I hit the road and joined a band in Boulder, Colorado and we toured the Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico area. Eventually we ended up in South Florida.

Yes, I remember you telling me that story last winter. You played a regular gig at a bar behind Nomad’s Surf Shop  in Briny Breezes. The surf shop is still there but the bar no longer is. You have a lot of great stories from that time in your life. Tell me another one.

I was playing music in Florida with a band who unknowingly had hooked up with a guy who stole a bunch of equipment from a band in North Carolina. They tracked him down in a club we were playing at in Pompano Beach and instead of accusing me of stealing their stuff, they asked me to join them as their lead singer. When they told me their history, I discovered they were WAY up the ladder from where I was at that time. They had a bus, eleven people on the payroll, and opened for some big acts like Kiss, U2, and several well known has beens. At that time I was looking to make a career in music, so I replied, “We ain’t left yet?” I quit my band and was on a plane to North Carolina shortly after leaving my van, my girlfriend, and basically everything I owned, which wasn’t much.

Oh, I’m very familiar with that. It’s liberating, isn’t it? But what happened from there? How did you end up with the corporate job you had when I met you years later in Exeter, New Hampshire?

After playing the big rock shows for awhile, I destroyed my voice, went back to New Hampshire, and took voice lessons with the number one teacher in the theater district. After some soul searching I decided to give up the dream and go to college. I got two computer programming degrees, got married, and set a new course. My first interview was with a large bank and the manager threw my resume on his desk and said, “Dammit, I’m looking for experience.” After apologizing and explaining his frustration, we talked for about a half hour and he hired me. I worked there for over eight years, and he’s still a good friend.

I took another position years later with a company in the “payments” business. The woman who interviewed me-for three hours-eventually became my wife. I’m incredibly fortunate. It was an interesting situation in that the company was acquired by a big bank that had a policy banning “power differentiated” relationships. One of us had to go, so I joined a different department, which scared the hell out of me, but it turned out to be a good thing.

And now you’ve retired from all that and are back playing music.

Yes, after leaving the corporate world after twenty years, I decided to get back into the music business, mainly to feed the soul rather than make a living. I’m currently doing solo acoustic shows, and occasional gigs with a five piece rock band. I’ve also formed a trio and we have recorded an 1800’s Christmas carol on a multi-artist project for charity.

I really enjoy playing and singing, and engaging the crowd in songs that are familiar to them. I encourage people to sing along, join me on the stage, and generally have a good time. I’m currently playing in New Hampshire at bars, wine tastings, art galleries, holidays parties, etc., and I’ll be putting up a website in 2015 with a schedule and demo songs.

That’s great, John. So, any regrets or advice for anyone out there thinking about retiring or cutting back and wondering what the next chapter should be?

No regrets, it’s been a great ride and I’ve met lots of great and talented people, both in music and business. I would say utilize your talent, whatever it is, everyone has it.

THEN:                                                                                     AND NOW:

 

Young John Irish

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PLEASE #FINDME: A #HASHTAG STORY

***This is a story that started out as one thing and ended up as another. It was happening in real time. I was writing about hashtags while multi-tasking on Facebook and Twitter where another story was unfolding. The story within the story is written in italics. The first story began like this:

Let’s talk about #hashtags. Those words strung together after the number sign.

Recently I started studying the search engine words that brought readers to my webpage. My most popular search terms are Sheila Blanchette or Sheila Blanchette Author. That one’s obvious. But some people even do that in a roundabout way. One person searched:

New England Delray Beach Accountant Author.

They knew quite a bit about me, except my name. It must have been someone I met in a bar.

***The second story begins when I take a break from writing to send a Tweet.***

There is not a day that goes by without at least one person reading my blog about my trip to Joshua Tree National Park and the dangerous Jumping Teddy Bear Cactus that attacked me. I assume most people find this blog because they’re Googling around for info on the park. Yes and No. Here’s some of the other searches they use:

Jumping Cactus
Cholo Cactus Guy
Teddy Bear Cactus Attack
Sheela Teddy Bear Name Wallpaper

Is there such a thing as Sheela Teddy Bear wallpaper? I enter the same words on Google. Links for Teddy Bear wallpaper come up but no Sheela, and sure enough, listed number four on the Google search is my blog about the Cholla Cactus Garden.

***Now that I’m back on the Internet Googling Teddy Bear wallpaper, I decide to share the Tweet on Facebook, with a little added info because I’m not restricted to 140 characters. I rarely share my Tweets on Facebook.***

It is also my fat ass that brings the searchers to the Cholla Cactus Garden. I mentioned my ass in the piece because I had to hop on my husband’s back so he could carry me out of the garden after I was attacked by the jumping cactus. There’s a photo of this, taken by my friend who was walking behind us, and every day someone finds that photo.

Grabbing That Phat Ass
My Big Fat Ass
Asian Fat Ass My Eyes are Wide Open

I do not claim to understand all these search terms

A very popular search is anything to do with cubicles, and these searches are most likely done in cubicles by people who are supposed to be working at their mundane jobs. I know this first hand. I’ve written about it. Often. As in an entire novel. My first novel The Reverse Commute has lots of cubicle scenes. The search words tell the story.

Never Work A Cubicle Job Again
Unhappy In A Cubicle
They Most Likely Own The Hotel And We Be Sitting In The Cubicle
I Need To Stop This Cubicle Shit
Cubicles Make Me Sick
Tears In My Cubicle

The list goes on and on. I feel their pain. I have decided I need to write more blogs about cubicles.

*** Over on Facebook, a friend I met shortly after I published The Reverse Commute has seen my post and asks if I can explain how to use hashtags. I break from writing the blog and do my best. I myself am still figuring this hashtag thing out, but as I write I realize if the words in your post, any words, match the search words, they may find you. However, I do not remember ever writing about wallpaper.***

Other search words are strange but easy enough to figure out.

Why Did They Name Her Ballsy?

These words brought the searcher to the blog about Delia Ephron titled Two Ballsy Chicks. I pause to wonder about the girl named Ballsy.

Blanchettes Furniture = The blog I wrote about my yard sale when I sold my house in N.H.
Middle Daughter On Empty Nest Crossword = Sex in An Empty Nest.

***My Facebook friend replies she wants to use hash tags to help find her granddaughter who ran away three weeks ago. She is a minor, a young high school girl. I have known about this since it happened and I have been talking to her privately. I give her a few ideas for hashtags. I am beginning to realize the important words one needs to use. In my Sex in an Empty Nest blog I mention we are visiting my daughter in Denver. We are on a plane and I am doing a crossword puzzle. I am sitting in the middle seat. I give my friend some suggestions. #Runaway #MissingTeen #LastSeenAt….***

How about this search?

Is Eden Roc Pool Public?

No, it is not, but the searcher learned how to crash it and that there is a public parking lot nearby.

Some of my walking blogs were found this way:

We Saw Sheila Walking Herself In The Park
In The Morning Sheila Goes Walking, Talking, Skipping Down The Main Street

***My friend sends a Tweet to local police departments along with the  flyer describing her granddaughter. She uses #hashtags she came up with after she read my simplified tutorial.***

Some people’s search words definitely do not help them find what they are looking for when they get to my website:

Sheila Colorado Springs Hairdresser
French Guest Blogger
Billboards For Vegetables in South Carolina
Where Does it Say You Cannot Park On Your Own Grass In Jupiter Florida?

***

I take a break from writing. This blog started out as a story about #FindMe, Sheila Blanchette Author, as in #ReadMyBlog and #BuyMyBooks. A comical list of search terms that brought people to my website. But I’m not feeling funny. My husband is still laid up with a bad back and sciatica. He’s cranky and I need to get out of the house. His sulky presence interferes with my creativity. It has been a difficult three weeks. The CPA ladies laid me off just when we really needed the money, the work wasn’t rolling in this tax season. On the very same day, a nasty stranger reached across the Internet miles and offered his hand, only to give me sarcasm and condescension.

I’m thinking about my Facebook friend and her granddaughter. She and I have never met. She contacted me after she read The Reverse Commute because she liked it. She really liked it! She wrote me a lovely review on Amazon. We became Internet friends and sometimes chat privately. I was worried about her young granddaughter. I needed a walk to clear my head.

When I got back to the apartment I had a Facebook message. “Sheila, you are an angel. The police just found my granddaughter, an hour after I sent the Tweet. Her Dad is on his way to pick her up. Thank you for helping me understand hashtags. I know you don’t like the God stuff, Sheila….but I believe he put you in my path today and I will be forever grateful to him and you! I haven’t been following your posts these past three weeks but something drew me to today’s post. It was divine intervention.”

I looked at the title of the blog I was working on. #FindMe: A #Hashtag Story.

Life is sometimes hard. It doesn’t all go the way that it should. We live in a graceless age where the Internet makes communication more complicated and less personal. Sometimes we go too far when we have a computer screen to hide behind, when we don’t have to look someone in the eye as we criticize and slander then quickly hit send. We don’t think about the real person on the receiving end of that email, Facebook post, Tweet, or Amazon review.

Today I saw another side.

It is true I don’t believe in God, and I am uncomfortable with organized religion, but I do believe there is something larger than each of us. I do believe grace happens more often than not. I believe in community, kindness, and empathy. Even when the community is a circle of Internet friends. Even when the hope and the prayer is a #hashtag.

 

 

 

 

5 Things I Learned About Applying To College and Getting Financial Aid

It was late at night, around 10 p.m., when I hit “send” and filed my very last FAFSA form. It’s a stressful time of year. I have to complete my tax return first and it seems like everyone I’ve ever worked for is a procrastinator. They mail the W-2s and the 1099s on January 31st, even the large corporation where I worked in a cubicle. The corporation that stressed time management and efficiency, but wasted so much time on employee meetings about time management and efficiency, no one got the W-2s out until the deadline.

I have filled out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for 15 years now. First, I helped my sister with her boys returns. They were born five years apart, so that spanned nine years, with a one year break. Then, it was my turn. My brother-in-law and my husband are self-employed, a landscaper and a house painter. So there’s a lot of bookkeeping to do before filing a Schedule C. My brother-in-law was a lot better at record keeping than my husband. One of my chores is a year-end trip to my husband’s truck to search for receipts that have fallen between the seats or are buried under drop cloths or stuffed into the bottom of a box of paint cans.

I’ve seen financial aid go through a lot of changes over the years. Gone are the days when I attended college and a middle class family with a stay-at-home mom could send four kids to college without refinancing the house.These are the years when the middle class is getting squeezed. Aid gets cut and tuition continues to rise. The median household income in 2014 was $53,891. The cost of attending a state university, including room and board, is around $32,000. Private colleges can be as high as $56,000. Daunting, isn’t it?

So, here’s some advice. Keep in mind that it’s anecdotal. I am sharing my experience in the hopes it might help you too.

1. Keep an open mind. I’m talking about your student here. For families that need financial aid to help pay for college, there are no dream schools. There is no early acceptance application. Your child can certainly apply to their dream school, but they need to understand that the Rolling Stones got it right: “You don’t always get what you want, but if you keep an open mind, you might just get what you need.” In today’s world, you need a college degree.

Explain the importance of earning a degree, but also talk realistically about the expense. Make it clear they may have to go to the school that makes the best offer. I made an Excel spreadsheet detailing tuition/scholarships/grants/loans, with the bottom line of DEBT YOU WILL OWE AFTER GRADUATING highlighted in yellow. It was anywhere from $24,000 to $180,000. Trust me, most 18-year-olds will understand these numbers.

2. Choose your schools wisely. Visit them. Make sure your child will be comfortable at each of the schools he or she applies to, because any one of them could be The One. My oldest applied to nine schools and my youngest applied to six. Sounds expensive, right? Not really, when you consider the potential package you might get. Some applications cost as little as $35. A lot of private universities have programs with high schools to waive the application fee. I spent from $450 to $600 and received combined packages of University grants, scholarships, and Stafford loans in the thousands. It is well worth the up front expenditure.

3. Your student does not need to be an A+ student to earn a scholarship. Neither one of my daughters were, and they both received scholarships and grants. Look for up-and-coming schools. Do your research. There are plenty of websites that can help you get the best bang for your buck.

4. Private schools are not necessarily going to cost you more. State universities have been hit hard with state budget cuts. They are also courting out-of-state students because they pay higher tuition. When applying to college, have a good mix of state and private schools. When all was said and done, my kids ended up at private colleges whose bottom line, DEBT YOU WILL OWE AFTER GRADUATING, was less than both the University of New Hampshire and Plymouth State, where they received only Stafford loans. And oh, of course there was that rather large loan they offer to parents. Make it clear to your student you will not be accepting that. An 18-year-old has a lot more years to pay off a reasonable debt than you do. You need to be saving for retirement.

5. Make sure you have a well rounded application. Decent grades, sports, theater or music activities, and a good essay. The essay really matters. Schools want to hear the student’s voice. Lots of kids nowadays are attending expensive camps and workshops, taking SAT prep classes and playing elite sports. The college essay is your student’s chance to stand out as an individual.

College is the beginning of the real world. It’s a time to learn how to live on your own, compromise,and make the most of the roadblocks and opportunities life sends your way. Most families can’t provide their kids with the expensive school of their dreams. But with a little work and an open mind, they can give their kids an education that will get them off to a great start without a mountain of debt.

***This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

Day Dream Believer: From Wisconsin to Nashville

*** This is the 2nd blog in a series of interviews with baby boomers who are pursuing their dreams. 

Anette headshot

I met Annette Stellick at my first apartment complex in Florida. She was working in the property management office and as these things so often go when two kindred spirits meet, we started talking about our plans to pursue the things we really wanted to do. The last time we met was at a Panera near my new apartment where we promised to keep in touch and help each other along our path to finding professional fulfillment.

So Annette, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Where do I begin to tell a story of a girl from Wisconsin? I distinctly remember a time in grade school when my third grade teacher asked me to come up to the chalk board to answer some problems. The only problem with this was I wasn’t sure what subject we were on. I was literally up amongst the clouds. I turned to my school mate and asked her what subject we were on. She looked at me strangely and replied, “We are on Math, geez.  Where have you been?” After some similar incidents, I was told I was slow and had to go to a “special class” for part of the day.

It’s a terrible thing to be young and have your confidence shattered, isn’t it?

Yes it is, but there was a nun that we worked with who started to notice that I had been catching on very quickly and didn’t seem to need the help that the others needed. She had a theory that maybe I just liked the one on one attention I was receiving.  Since I would finish early with the school work, she began asking me to go ahead and spend the rest of the class time writing short stories. I am thankful to that kind teacher to this day, and I am also thankful that I was placed in the “dumb class” as this gave me a gift, a confirmation that I could write something that someone thought was worth reading.

Let’s talk about your music. When I last saw you, just before you left for Nashville, you mentioned you had a music publishing deal. How did you become interested in music?

I started to play percussion in my senior year. After I was in band for a few months I was asked to go to the advanced band with a teacher called Mr. Vavor. A teacher with a disposition such as his might as well have been named Darth! He had a reputation as being one of the most eccentric and temperamental teachers in school. I passed on being moved to the “upper band” but I still had a great experience with my classmates as we went on to win the state medal for a percussion ensemble that year.

More naysayers. How did you overcome that?

I met my husband, Rodney “Drac” Gibson in Minneapolis. What a character he was! His total unique “strangeness” soon had me falling in love with him. We were from two completely different worlds yet our minds and goals were much alike. My parents were not too thrilled with their youngest daughter being with a musician, and someone who was not the same race as me. They didn’t look at who he was, they only looked at the fear of what they thought my life would be. I was taking a path that was risky and not at all what they imagined or wanted for their daughter.

Yes, my parents were a bit like that. Instead of encouraging me to follow my dreams, they focused on job security. They wanted me and my siblings to take the safe, well travelled path. How did you overcome that?

During that time, my fear would cripple me, until one evening when Rodney heard me sing as we were driving in the car and asked, “Why in the world don’t you sing in front of people and what are you so afraid of?”

It was that moment in the car when I realized he was right and decided that I should not try to stay away from opportunities presented to me just because of fear. Do it afraid!  And when I did, the fear went away.

Do it afraid! I like that. And you did do it, right?

Yes, and as we pursued music together, we received a Grammy nomination and Dove nominations for a band called “DOC”. I helped with writing and ideas, and sang. My husband did all this as well as rapping on the tracks and developing/producing the band. Also producing on this project was our friend Tedd Tjornhom,  who we have now joined forces with once again. They are both brilliant producers. The songs that they collaborate on are dynamic and unique.

I also worked in sales with various companies in property leasing and management. I went into the more conventional fields after I became pregnant with our first child. I was not sure how to handle raising children and going to auditions. I just was not that organized! I wanted as much time with my children as I could get. I figured they grow up too fast, and then it’s too late. During this time, my husband and I formed a band called the “Funky Vadican”. We played in various clubs such as First Avenue in Minneapolis. We started to build a good reputation. The newspaper reviews and audiences compared us to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Black Eyed Peas.

So what happened next? How did you end up in the property management office in South Florida where I met you?

In 2001 the music industry took a big hit after the destruction of the twin towers. The independent labels were no longer able to survive and production projects were hard to come by. We had decided to diversify and start a business with production in video and web marketing. Later, after having produced several TV commercials, we made the big move to sunny Florida.
Florida was not exactly the promised land, we were hit with many hardships. But with much effort we did cultivate relationships with video industry professionals. During this six year time frame, I worked for another property management company. It was not what I wanted to do, it actually felt like a jail sentence. But we all have a bottom line. I had to keep telling myself it was temporary.

And now here you are, back in Nashville pursuing your dreams once again.

In October 2014, we moved to Nashville with a publishing deal that also included writing deals for our aspiring children who had impressed the publishers with songs they had submitted throughout the previous year. I am very excited that at this moment I am able, along with my family, to write songs for artists and major labels while cultivating my own career as an artist. With the great writing styles and musicianship of our family, along with the production of Tedd T and my husband, Rodney Drac, we expect the songs to be released in 2015 which should start us back on track to the Grammys once again.

Despite my parents’ decision to give into their fears, twenty three years later we have three amazing kids and they have now decided to follow in the risky business of their parents. I didn’t plan on this, I thought someone in our family would have chosen a normal career, but I didn’t put those desires or talents there, God did.

I don’t care what age one might feel is appropriate for dream catching. If the dream is still inside you, what’s stopping you from attaining it? Fear, discouragement, lack of a 401K? Maybe, just maybe, if you keep doing what you love and listen to that little, nagging voice inside, you just might make more money doing what you love than you would ever see staying at your “safe” job. It’s OK to still dream. Dreams do not have an age requirement.

I couldn’t have said it better myself, Annette. Thanks for sharing your story with us.
Annette is currently working on a website, but in the meantime you can connect with her through her music publisher R1Way Publishing 

Annette is also planning to publish her first children’s novel in the very near future, return to acting, and and she and her husband are currently working on a sitcom. She is one busy lady, proving it is never too late to pursue your dreams.

Turn The Page

Life kicks you around once in awhile. People don’t always understand what you’re trying to do.

There are days when everything goes wrong. A client lays you off due to lack of work. A virtual stranger sends a not so nice email. Your husband is laid up with a back injury.

You wonder what you’re doing. Will I ever get this thing called a lifetime right?

Losing confidence in yourself can really set you back. Your doubts and fears keep you awake at night. Will I succeed? How do we pay the bills? Am I dreaming an unrealistic dream? Does anyone care? Will the doors ever open?

In the end, there are only so many minutes and hours and days in a lifetime. We are all responsible for our own happiness. Are you going to wallow in self-pity or pick yourself up and keep going?

These are the times when I turn up the volume, block out the noise, and through the magic of music, I calm my weary soul and start a new story.  Every day there’s a story to write. A new chapter. A fresh start. It’s true what they say. Yesterday is over. Tomorrow may never come. All we have is today. This minute, this hour, this day. How do you want to spend it?

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”   ~Ernest Hemingway