Monday, April 25, 2016

Answers to Prayers

I don't write too often here about my religious experiences and faith. I do write a lot about my churchgoing activities. But those are not the same as religious experiences. I usually choose not to share my faith because I don't care to share something so personal with an anonymous audience who may choose to criticize me for it. Call it "pearls before swine," although that would make you, the reader, the swine.
But today I feel like sharing a little bit. Why? Because along with the answers came a strong feeling that I should share it.
Recently I suffered a serious setback in one area of my life. It broke my heart. All of my hard work, efforts, and good intentions meant nothing. Someone who quite frankly didn't know what they were talking about, held all of the control in a situation, and pretty much chose to hurt me. There were a lot of ways the situation could have gone, where the person could have still exercised their control, but s/he chose the route that personally hurt me.
A lot of tears were shed over the situation. A lot. It's not often that an adult would take such measured calculations to inflict pain on another adult. But it happened.
I was left with a lot of questions along with the sadness. I was sad that someone would seek to hurt me so personally. I was hurt. And most of all, I wanted out. (And still do.) I can't think of one reason why anyone would chose to stay in a situation where such ill will is dished out.
So I prayed for an answer on how to handle the situation. I prayed for the strength to not rush back in there and yell at the other person and inflict pain of my own on them. I prayed for a huge, big, obvious answer on what to do next. The words I used specifically in my prayer were "I need an answer as big as a billboard." Because in my emotional state of mind, if it wasn't that big and obvious, I wouldn't be able to see it.
And I got my answer the very next morning. Things that never happen happened. We're talking packages arrived early even as the tracking information was still saying it wasn't coming for days. A news article publishing on exactly the right day. An email from a friend with exactly the right words and timing.
The answer I got reminded me that it's okay for things to be hard. In fact, they will probably always be hard. But there is a path laid out for me to follow, and setbacks can be a part of that path. And that there are answers to prayers that can be as big and obvious as a billboard, right when you need them the most. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Participation Medals

You know that feeling you get on Sunday evening, when you're just finally getting the hang of this relaxing and resting thing, and then you realize you have to get up and go to work again on Monday? There needs to be a word for that feeling. A word that means "relaxing interrupted." Someone want to coin that word for me? 

This was a big weekend for me. Two significant things happened at the same time. The first was that I participated in a 5K. It was just the Color Run, which is non-competitive, and not timed. It's just for fun. But the point is, I did it. For a year now I've been actively working out and trying to lose weight. And I've actually reached a point where I enjoy exercising now. Running for more than a few minutes still eludes me. But I can walk about 6 miles before I start to tire. I could possibly go longer than that, but by then I'm so bored I don't care. But I digress. The Color Run was fun and I'm glad I did it. How I got purple powder through my shirt, and my bra, to stain my chest and cleavage, I'll never know. Not to mention somehow my belly button got stained orange. (Which made me laugh because "navel orange.")

The second significant thing is that I went out and did something with a friend in Roanoke. Christi and I actually see each other a few times a week to go walking/work out. And we've met up for dinner a few times as well. But this was different and it was a big deal for me. For the first time ever I did something fun and social with someone in Roanoke and it had nothing to do with church, family, and/or work. That has never happened before. It was nice to know I'm still a social human.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Fun Surprise from Samoa

How fun is this?
My parents are serving a mission for our church in Samoa right now. I called to tell them about my book arriving today. They surprised me with all these fun videos!




When Books Fly is LIVE!

I'm not quite sure what happened, but the book I didn't expect to see until May 10th is already here! My book is live!
Now to go full throttle into a book launch a month earlier than anticipated.
You can get your copy of When Books Fly: Social Media Secrets for Best-Selling Books on Amazon here and Barnes and Noble here.

Obviously a new book means it's time for a HAPPY DANCE!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Next Chapter

I’m writing this from an overlook along the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was driving back from Virginia Beach to Roanoke, and decided on a whim to take the parkway home. It adds a few minutes, but a lot of beauty, to my drive, and I don’t mind.
Right now in Roanoke, a major chapter of my life is coming to a close in a bittersweet way. Instead of it ending on a high note, it’s ending on a rather sour one, which makes it both hard to let go, and easy to not look back at the same time. In other words, I’m more sad than happy, but accepting that this is how it ends.
It leaves me free to open the next chapter of my life without attachments or remorse. And I’ve don’t nothing but think about what that next chapter will be for the last few days.
One year ago when I left Northern Virginia for Roanoke, I had no idea what to expect. I certainly never foresaw the confusion, stress, and pain of the past year. I had expected one friendship to be waiting for me when I arrived, but instead, that person was the cause of much of my angst.
A year ago, I said goodbye to one particular friend and fully expected at that time for that to be the last time I would ever see or speak to that person. Here we are a year later, and that person and I communicate almost daily- far more than we did a year ago at this time. And now there is a chance we’ll have to say goodbye again, and I wonder how that will change things.
When I left NoVA I had a crazy idea for a small book. I didn’t even think I had enough material to make it a full book. I figured it was more like a really big pamphlet. But I wrote it, tried it out in a class, and submitted it to a publisher. By the end of this week that book will be in bookstores across the country. By far my biggest book release yet. My first book to be sold in the mainstream, and not just in LDS bookstores. (I’m a little overwhelmed at the thought.)
You probably figured it out before I did from my blog posts, that I really lost my identity this past year, maybe even before that. I haven’t been at liberty to share the details of the difficulties I’ve dealt with, and I am still not. Maybe by saying this much, you’ll understand why- when the lawsuit is over, maybe I can share my side of the story here. But I may not choose to share the details, if I think saying anything will make it harder for other parties to heal.
I think I am in the clear enough to say that for nearly a full year now, every single aspect of my life has been criticized. At work, at church, and as a writer. It has taken its toll on me in every possible way. I’m as fragile as they come these days. I’m defensive and suspicious (something I never was before). I expect that everyone and anyone I meet is going to think the worst of me or tear me down (because they have so many times).  Never before have I felt more single – no partner, no person to share my burden and cares with. I know many people see my struggles, but there is little anyone can do for me. My problems are mine and mine alone to carry.
But I know this one thing to be true- that the Lord knows and cares for us. No matter the load we are forced to bear, we are loved and never forgotten.  Jeremiah 31:3, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.”

I do not carry my burdens alone. I have the strength of a loving Heavenly Father to help me along. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30.)

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Mormon dot org

If you are reading this through an RSS feed, and not on the actual blog, you are missing out on seeing the awesome ad to the right! It's my dear friend, Tim Gates of Due West, in a spot. I've seen the video featuring Tim and it's just wonderful. I highly encourage you to watch it. Learn more about what makes Tim (and his family, and his Due West family) so incredibly awesome. Makes me humbled and happy to call him my friend. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

How Much is That Doggy in the Window (middle of the street)?


Just a funny little story for the heck of it. 
Last week I was driving up Bent Mountain Road where the road goes from 4 lanes to 2 lanes. But right before that should have happened, traffic suddenly backed up. But this is Roanoke. We don't have traffic. But my lane was the turning lane, and it hadn't stopped, so I was able to move a little closer.
Just ahead several cars were in a circle in the road. All the cars in all 4 lanes had stopped and people were running around in the road. The firefighter in me thought it was about to be an awful car accident. 
That's when I saw a beautiful brindle greyhound dog running around. His tail was tucked, ears down, and he looked terrified as he ran between the cars. People were chasing him all over. One guy looked like he was trying to lure the dog with food. Several people opened their car doors, to try to trick the dog into jumping in. (Truth be told, if I had been a little bit closer, I would have done the same thing. That trick usually works.) 
I wasn't going anywhere, and I felt bad for the dog and all the people. So I got out of my car to help, and picked up Kaya's (my dog) leash out of the backseat, (she wasn't with me), and held it up. 
I was actually holding it up so the people would see me and the leash. The man with the food had nearly grabbed the dog a few times, but the dog had slipped away. I figured maybe a leash would help.
But the dog saw the leash and ran right up to me. I put the leash right on him! 
The man with the food was actually the owner of the dog. He said he had jumped right out of the car window while it was moving. The poor man looked as traumatized as the dog did. I let him take my leash. It seemed like a good causse.
I walked back up to my car the hero of the traffic jam. People were clapping for me and yelling thank you. It was cute and hilarious all at the same time. Nobody knows that it was a fluke that the dog ran to me. I didn't expect that to happen!
The only problem is now I don't have a leash. And Kaya is not going to be happy when she finds out we can't go for our Sunday walk. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Accepting criticism as a chance to improve

I don't blog as much as I used to for myriad reasons. One of the most important reasons is just having learned from lessons of the past, and how expressing personal feelings about events in my own life can upset people. Or invites unwelcome feedback from people who make my feelings and thoughts about them.

But tonight I'm feeling alone with few (no?) people to talk to about some of the problems in life. So rather than talk to no one, I'll talk to everyone in the anonymous internet. (Hopefully I won't be repeating mistakes of the past.) (Ha ha.) (That was deep, sad, sarcasm.)

But let's start with some disclaimers. This isn't about you. This is about me. This is not any one person, problem, or event. It's a huge conglomeration or confluence of ALL THE THINGS!

Seriously, if it wasn't so painful or hard to deal with so many things at once, I'd laugh at how so many things could be happening at once.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's jump to the lesson learned and then back it up. Or something like that.

A few weeks ago, an old friend posted a beautiful picture of her ballerina daughter getting a private lesson. (or something to that extent) She commented how her daughter said how she liked to get feedback or pointers from the teacher "because how else could she improve?" I was just floored by this statement from such a young kid.

I've never been great at taking criticism. But ever since reading her comment I've been trying to take it to heart. If I don't get feedback how will I ever improve? This young girl just amazed me at her outlook! I could learn a lot from her.

If you believe that all things happen for a reason, you'll find it easy to believe that I needed to hear and digest and internalize that idea before the last few weeks hit me.

Because, wow. I have had lots of opportunities to apply this lately!

We're talking criticism feedback coming at me from all sides. You name it, I'm getting it. Work, church, personal life, writing life, volunteer life.

Old me would have given up and hidden under a rock by now, or lashed out and given everyone a dose of their own medicine.

But I haven't. I'm learning. I'm trying so hard to just get through, accept, and take it all as a chance to improve.

But it's not easy. Especially when it doesn't let up. I feel like I'm caught under Niagara Falls, getting beat on the rocks with criticism feedback.

I need a break. I need some personal improvement time. I'm writing this all out so I can get some of my emotions out before diving back in to handle the most recent problem. Mostly, I just feel like a huge failure in nearly every possible aspect of my life right now. (Writing is actually going pretty well. More on that some other time.)

I want to be a Millennial and beg a for a safe space around me. "Please only speak kind words in this area."

Sigh. Yeesh. And sigh again.

So tell me, Oh Anonymous Internet World, when you feel beat up, criticized, overwhelmed, let down, frustrated, and disappointed, what do you do? How do you personally handle it? I'm looking for a new way to handle everything, and not be me anymore.

You can always be the kindest person in the room

Tonight my heart is broken, but not for me. When my friends and loved ones are hurting, I hurt. I am not a therapist or counselor. But through the different roles that I play and hats that I wear in my life, I see first-hand many of the problems in my community, and in the lives of my loved ones. Throughout my life people have often come to me with their problems and heart aches. And I hurt when I cannot fix each of their problems. In recent days and weeks, my heart has been overloaded with the trials and burdens of others. And as I have heard and witnessed their problems, I have repeatedly seen the same problem over and over. I want to take a minute to share what I know would heal so many broken hearts and solve so many problems. Tearing down another person will never make you a better person. Hurting them out of spite, jealousy, or resentment, will never solve your problems or make you happy. It will only make your discontent worse. There is never a reason to criticize or belittle a friend, family member, or loved one. Or for that matter, even just an acquaintance. It solves nothing, and only causes pain to both you and the other person. Be civil and show respect, even when you disagree. (Especially during a political season.) If there is someone out there that would do anything for you, ask yourself if you have made the sacrifice or effort to do anything for them. Have you gone the extra mile to show kindness or help another person? When was the last time you showed a true kindness to someone who asked for help? You don’t have to be the smartest, wittiest, prettiest, richest, fastest, strongest, coolest, or even the most interesting person in the room. But you can always be the kindest person in the room. You don’t have to be the best. You don’t have to be hurtful or critical. We’ve all heard the message by now that everyone is going through something. It’s nearly a cliché by now, and yet there is still so much truth to it. But the thought I want to leave with you tonight is simply this – are you causing the something that someone else is going through? Be kind. Put yourself aside and go the extra miles to help and serve a friend. Show love even when it’s hard to do. And never put other people down.  I know I could have shared these thoughts directly with the offending parties. And it may be possible that this was directed right at you. My thoughts are directed at more than a few specific people, but really, isn’t it a lesson we all need to remember from time to time?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

My Books is About to Fly!

Happiness is seeing an ad for my upcoming book out in the wild!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

New Book by Juli Caldwell - Guilt Trip!

Avery Elliott is so busy hiding from her past that she doesn't realize she’s been stuck in a rut for the last decade or so. Despite a job she loves, a hilarious great-grandma she adores, a reliable Friday night date, and two of the best friends a girl could ask for, she’s not happy.

So why can’t she move forward with her life? 

After Mr. Friday Night humiliates her and bails, Avery spins it into an opportunity. She joins her friends on a singles cruise, hoping to reset her stagnant life.  Instead, her great escape becomes a floating prison, locking her in with everything she needed to get away from. 

And then someone she never thought she’d see again appears on board, a blast from the past who’s haunted her for far too long. Avery has to decide if she should leave the past where it belongs, or fight for a happiness she never thought she deserved.

Guilt Trip is available on Amazon!  In honor of its release and Valentines/Singles Awareness Day, Juli Caldwell is having a Worst Date Ever contest. Visit her facebook and share your awful story--BOOM. You're entered. Give Guilt Trip a shout out or a retweet on Twitter--another entry. Make sure you hashtag it #guilttrip and let her know @ImJuliCaldwell so she can find your entries! Winner gets signed paperback or ebook, whichever they prefer! Winner announced Sunday Night.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

My Dirty Little Secret - How I Can Afford Trips to Italy and Samoa

I have a big year ahead of me. I have a book coming out in May, some speaking engagements to promote the new book, a trip to Utah in June, and a trip to Italy in July (both with Clog America), and God willing, a huge trip to Samoa to see my parents around Christmastime.
So how does a girl who works part-time for a non-profit save up enough money to go on 2 huge international trips in one year, and still put gas in the car and have food to eat?

The answer is Traffic Monsoon.
This is an endeavor completely out of my comfort zone. You can send me off on a plane to a foreign country for a month alone, and I won't blink an eye. But a "get rich quick" website that almost screams of multi-level-marketing? Oh hell no! I don't go there. Not my thing.
But it turns out, it is my thing.
Back in December, my parents met a guy who is also serving his mission in Samoa, who told them that he's financing his mission through Traffic Monsoon. He introduced my parents to it. They gave it a shot for a few weeks. And then they handed their account over to me.
So for the past 4 weeks I've been operating their Traffic Monsoon account.
And I made $1,046.03.
And I worked less than 10 minutes a day.
Seriously. I'm not making this up. I made over $1,000 in 4 weeks, working less than 10 minutes a day.
Not too shabby, eh?
Plane ticket right now from Washington, DC to Pago Pago, American Samoa is $2,148.
And a flight from DC to Rome? $1,200.
That's a lot of money. I've got a ways to go.
But $1,046.03 in just 4 weeks isn't a bad start. In fact, it's a great start.
So by now you are wondering what on earth it is I did for 10 minutes a day to make that money. And that's a pretty valid question.
The answer is I watched ads.
That's it. I watched ads on their site for a little under 10 minutes a day. Probably closer to 8 minutes.
Each ad is 20 seconds long. And I watched 8 ads a day.
Seriously, that's it. Nothing more, nothing less.
Okay, actually there's a lot more to it than that. For instance, this is so much more than a site that pays you to watch ads. It's really a revenue sharing site. And you have to buy a "share" of the site. And the more shares you buy, the more of the revenue you earn back.
If you had a product you wanted to sell, this is a fantastic site for placing ads on it. Because, at its core, this is an ad sharing site. Advertisers who would rather pay the consumer to look at the ad, and know for sure that the consumer saw the ad, (instead of placing it on some other website where it might get blocked, or the viewer just ignores it), choose to place ads on this site. (It took me a few weeks before I realized I did have something I could advertise on the site. But I'll tell you about that some other day.)
I've now made enough money on the site that I no longer want to share the account with my parents. I started my own account. In fact, after seeing the success my parents and I had in the first month, all three of my siblings opened their own accounts. This is how we all hope to be able to finance our trips to Samoa.
And now I'm telling you about it.
I promise it's not an MLM. Nor is it a Ponzi scheme. You do have to put some money into it, to get money out of it. Like I said, you have to buy a share of the site. the more shares you own, the more revenue you get back. But you can keep reinvesting that revenue over and over again. And it pays off. It pays off fast!
There are a lot of people out there trying to make a buck by referring people to this site, because Traffic Monsoon does offer a pretty handsome referral fee. You can watch some of their homemade sales videos here - (This guy has an awful accent and grammar, but he does the best job of explaining it.)

(and here ).
Something like this isn't for everyone. After all, it does require that you remember to log in and watch your 8 ads every day. If you miss a day, it's not the end of the world. But you do miss out on money. So you have to set up a routine where you remember to keep up with it every day.
I really do recommend trying the site out.
I've been blogging here for over 10 years. I've tried to sell you my books, and occasionally I will tout a product I believe in (like eShakti dresses, or something random from Amazon). But I've never, not once, promoted something like this.
That should tell you something. That's how much I believe in this.
If you want to make some extra money, this is a nearly foolproof way to do it. I really do recommend it. I wouldn't put it on my blog and tell you about it if I didn't.
I'll check in occasionally and give you updates on how I'm doing and how much I've made. And you better believe I'm going to tell you when I've got those plane tickets in hand!
Personally, I can't wait to see what making this kind of extra cash is going to do for me. I don't plan to just earn the money for my trips and then quit. I plan to keep going and rely on it as steady income!

So if you're interested, and you want to make a few extra bucks a month with very little effort, click here -

Don't believe me?

Here's a screenshot of my current account balance.


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