Thursday, January 31, 2013

The World Building Blogfest: Food, Drink, Holidays, and Culture

It's Day #4 of The World Building Blogfest.  Sharon Bayliss is hosting this week-long event, and you can check out the details HERE.

The topic for today is culture.  Food, celebrations, and a wide array of other things fall under the category of culture, so this is a rich topic to tackle.  For my post, I decided to talk about the Kentari equivalent of a wedding ceremony.  We don't really see this until the third book in my series, but since it's part of the same world, I think it's okay to share it.

The Kentari word for marriage translates to "partnership" and the ceremony is a kinship ceremony.  Partners stand on equal ground and both have unique qualities to bring to their pairing, so there is no title distinction like "husband" or "wife."

Image courtesy of akeeris
The actual kinship ceremony is private.  No one is present but the two people making the commitment to one another.  They first design a kinship symbol. This is symbolic of the creation of a new family.  The symbol can represent anything they want.  Then, using the same power the Kentari use to heal, they take turns tracing the design onto the back of their new partner's hand.  The power coursing through the fingertip causes the skin to release additional pigmentation, allowing the new tattoo to stand out dark against the lighter surrounding skin.  The tattoo will grow lighter over time, so the partners will have periodic renewal ceremonies, during which time they make the commitment all over again.  The tattoo goes on the dominant hand, so whenever they extend their hand to someone else in friendship or in any kind of business agreement, they are also announcing their commitment to the world.  The Kentari are a private people, but it is of paramount importance that one does not try to hide their love for their family.

The partners will also select a new family name.  Selecting this name officially moves them both into a new stage of life that is deemed worthy of a new designation.  Their former last name remains as a middle name, and this is considered a tribute to their roots.

FSF: Fragility

Five Sentence Fiction, created by Lillie McFerrin, provides weekly prompts. The mission is to use that prompt as inspiration to write five fantastic sentences of fiction.  Are you up to the challenge?

The prompt this week is DELICATE.

If you haven't read the previous installments of the"Unchained" serial, go to this PAGE to read it from the beginning.

Chapter 17: Fragility

Image courtesy of Worakit
The feeling of terror reverberated through Ylana’s body long after the vision finally ebbed away.  Nara helped her out of the spaceport, and they spent the remainder of the day trying to discover the location of the beach from the brutal images that were now seared into Ylana’s brain.

Finally, after two days of searching and a few sporadic visions that added nothing except additional tension that Ylana’s worn mind could hardly take, the two of them stood on the shore.  Ylana looked down at the place where she’d seen the flowers and whispered, “Life is so delicate, so fragile, and it can all end in a moment.”

“And it ends even faster if someone’s determined to end it for you,” declared an unknown female voice.

Go to Purple Fever

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The World Building Blogfest: Religion and/or Magic

Now it's Day #3 of The World Building Blogfest.  A great thanks to Sharon Bayliss for hosting this fun week-long event!

There's no magic in my world, though the Kentari do possess telepathic, telekinetic, and healing powers.  Some of the things they do may appear magical, which is one of the reasons they keep so much of their culture a secret.

The Kentari don't believe in a god or afterlife the way that most humans do. They focus more on the cyclical nature of the world they live in.  Here are a few key points taken from one of their religious texts that show how they view the universe and their place in it.

Image courtesy of photouten
Energy is life.  Matter is simply energy in an altered form.  The stars created the elements that make sentient beings and the worlds that sustain our existence.  Energy is the universe, and the universe is everything.
As sentient beings with the power of the mind, we are privileged.  With proper training, one may learn to appreciate life energies and work with them to create much good.  The ability to harness energy is central to our lives, and this ability must always be respected.
Our bodies are created with energy, and that energy is immortal.  When our bodies die, that energy is released and lives on.  Our remnants travel through the universe, becoming new elements, new living beings, new resources that help to maintain the cycle of life.  We must always remember that we are all a part of this cycle, and this gives us something that we hold in common with other sentient beings.  Our energy will continue to serve life after death.  In this same way we must serve life while we live.  Yet if one hopes to serve others, one must be sure to care for themselves.  Health of mind relies upon the health of the body.  Neglecting one’s fleshly needs and desires will not serve life.  Only excess that costs others around you is harmful.
Wisdom tempers the fire of the heart, but it is also an inadequate substitute.  Both are needed for a fulfilled life.  These writings offer some useful teachings, though they do not  comprise wisdom.  Wisdom comes with long experience.  Wisdom is the ability to combine desires with practical knowledge in a way that respects and benefits living beings.

Starlit Love

I know I've been sharing a lot of poetry lately, but I've been inspired to write it. That's just the way it goes sometimes.  This time I didn't use any prompts other than my own imagination.  Unless you count listening to Star Talk Radio while writing it.  And it would be fair to say that inspiration shines through in my words.

Starlit Love

With your trusty telescope
you stared long into the night.
A young man filled with wonder,
your imagination took flight.
Yet your lens strayed a little
and into my bedroom peered.
You caught me looking back at you
and I knew what you feared.

I could have been angry,
but then you did something bold.
You picked up the phone and called me,
ready to face wrath of levels untold.
You sounded scared and apologetic,
though you still tried to play it cool.
“I didn’t mean to intrude,” you said,
“but I can’t ignore heavenly bodies.  It’s a rule.”

Had it been anyone else, I certainly
would have hung up straight away.
Yet I heard the tremble in your voice.
So many things that waver did convey.
You were unsure of yourself, wanting more
than you imagined you could touch.
A young man immersed in the stars,
steeped in beauty you couldn’t clutch.

The following night, I saw you
looking to the sky once more.
You wore that look of awe
that I’d already come to adore.
Together we searched the depths of space
and found more than we planned.
We saw worlds spinning through the cosmos,
but it all stopped when you held my hand.

Those nights set my world ablaze,
like a ship plunging into the sun.
New possibilities opened before us.
I’d never had so much fun.
Yes, I love your curious ways, and
your passion for the cosmic objects you see.
Yet, more than that, I love the way
your eyes shine brighter when you look at me.           

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The World Building Blogfest: History and Politics

It's Day #2 of The World Building Blogfest, brought to us by Sharon Bayliss!

I wanted to highlight the growing tensions between the humans and the Kentari. Gretchen Taylor is my main character.  Here she is responding to something her father wrote.  This highlights the factors that are contributing to racial tensions while also showing the division between the people who trust their neighbors and those who don't.

*               *               *               *               *

I know I shouldn’t be writing this down.  If either of my parents discovers this, I’m in trouble.  Even so, I couldn’t go without responding to the letter my father had published in the newspaper earlier this week.  Though no one will know of these words, I can’t let them weigh me down anymore.

Dear Editor,
            This is a crucial time in our history.  As Terra Minor citizens, it is imperative that we do not sit idly by while our fundamental human rights are denied by alien dictators.  I was born on this world, as were most of you.  Being told where I can and cannot live on this, my homeworld, is an insult to my autonomy.

Yes Dad, it is a crucial time in our history, but not for the reasons you seem to think.  The negotiations that allowed us to settle this world, long after the Kentari settled here, allowed them to have their sacred spaces on this world.  This was not an absurd condition to set.  In order to have a peaceful coexistence, we need to respect it.  It’s an insult to the Kentari culture to presume that you deserve to encroach on things that do not belong to you.

               This is not the only way they control our daily lives.

            The Kentari carefully select who is and is not allowed to learn their language.  They release little information on their cultural practices.  They live apart from us by choice, though they claim they want to share this world in peace.  If they truly wish for this to be the case, they should abandon their secrecy. 

Words are powerful.  The Kentari understand this.  They also know our history as a people.  While they wish to maintain our friendship, they know all too well how quickly we can turn our backs on our agreements.  It’s easy to read ill intent from their actions, but a desire for privacy does not prove the presence of malice.

            I suspect this will never happen, because with all I’ve seen, I have little doubt they have something to hide.  Whatever that is remains to be seen.  This is why we must band together to demand the truth.  We will only win if we push hard enough.  Until that time, I will do all I can to keep my family separate from the Kentari.  They are too precious to risk.  I recommend all of you do the same.

-Charlie Taylor

Dad, I hate to break it to you, but I can think for myself.  You may think you’ve protected me from the Kentari, but I’ve been meeting with one of them.  Quirin is Kentari, and through him I’ve learned more about what his people are hiding.  They do have secrets, but fear of people like you acting against them is what motivates their secrecy.  I’ve also learned that Quirin is one of the most reliable, trustworthy people I’ve ever known.  If you knew how I felt about him, I doubt you could forgive me.

Don’t start a war for my benefit.  I don’t care about any of the things you’re fighting for.  I only care about living in peace.  I’ll trust people on their own merits.  I’ll make my own decisions.  People like you might be calling for war, but people like me are calling for understanding.

Though I do love you, I feel like we’ve only been growing further apart.  Do you even notice it?  If I told you the truth about what I’ve been doing for the past several months, you would, but telling you would shatter the illusion that holds our family together.

-Gretchen Taylor

Monday, January 28, 2013

Express Yourself: Movie Madness

It's time for another post for the Express Yourself Weekly Meme.  Thanks to Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests for creating this fun way to get to know our fellow bloggers!

The question this week: What movies do you watch over and over so that you can practically quote them word for word?

Jurassic Park
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
Star Trek First Contact
Forbidden Planet
Deep Impact
Terminator 2: Judgement Day

I love a lot of movies, but these are only a few where I find myself silently reciting the lines along with the actors.  I can't do it aloud, because I would drive my family crazy!

The World Building Blogfest: Geography and Climate

A quick note.  Anyone who wants to read my post for the Lunar Lovin' Hop, click HERE.  Anyone looking for my post for the Re-Introduce Yourself Blogfest can find it HERE.

The World Building Blogfest is a week-long blogging event dedicated to the complicated process of creating a world in your fictional writing.  This is an activity that requires a lot of forethought, so it's good that we can all share some of world building with one another.  Check out Sharon Bayliss to learn more about this awesome blogfest!

Today is dedicated to the geography and climate.  This aspect is important.  As a science fiction writer, I frequently have to build an entire world from scratch, and the geography and climate are crucial pieces of the puzzle.

For this blogfest, I'm pulling out a series that I'm not currently working on, but plan to resume work on sometime this year.  If anything, this blogfest will help get the wheels turning in my head for that.

My Terra Minor series is set on a colony world.  Humans and a race called the Kentari share this world.  I'm going to share excerpts from a prologue that I'm still not sure if I'm going to keep or not.  Either way, it summarizes the geography of the world while establishing the physical distribution of the world's inhabitants.

         Dwindling resources and overcrowding on Earth and the Mars colony drove Terrans to seek new worlds.  Terra Minor was discovered in 2262, and the first sensor sweep showed a world almost perfect for human habitation.
Terra Minor had an Earth-like atmosphere, though with a soft violet hue and markedly higher oxygen content.  The planet orbited a double star system, and was itself orbited by three moons.  The gravity was 95 percent of Earth-normal, and Terra Minor orbited its suns every 397 of its 25 hour days.  Changes in season were subtle.  The average high temperature on the main continent was approximately 32ºC (90ºF) during the summer and 25ºC (77ºF) during the winter.  Though significantly warmer on average than many regions on Earth, the temperature at least tended to be steady, enabling people to become comfortable quickly.  Volatility existed primarily in the storms that brewed over the warm oceans, but the truly damaging storms occurred only once every few years, and the worst of them typically remained in the equatorial regions.
However, there was one obstacle that stood to prevent colonization.  The world in question was already inhabited.
         Over six million members of the Kentari race resided there.  This world wasn’t the cradle of their civilization, though they’d called this world home for several centuries.  Their settlements spread across two of the three continents that sprawled across the planet’s watery surface.  The largest continent contained the bulk of the “indigenous” population with a little over 5.5 million inhabitants.  The remaining Kentari lived on the smallest continent, which also housed the highest ranking members of their government.  The third continent was largely an uninhabitable desert due to its location on the equator, but solitary Kentari often sought enlightenment there.

Lunar Lovin' Hop

It's a day filled with hops!  To see my entry for the first day of the World Building Blogfest, click HERE.  To see my entry for the Re-Introduce Yourself Blogfest, click HERE.

Also today is the Lunar Lovin' Hop!  The always awesome Mina Lobo at Some Dark Romantic decided to pay tribute to the full moon.  All we need to do is take a picture of the full moon and share it!

So, I do have a few pictures of the moon.  They aren't great by any means, but they're the best I can get with my camera.  My photography skills aren't the best. Unfortunately, they aren't even pictures of the full moon.  I took these on Friday night when I could actually see the moon.  I wanted to cover my bases. You know how uncooperative the weather can be.  It's a good thing too, because the last 24 hours have been nothing but freezing rain here in central Iowa.  I'd take a picture of tonight's sky to show you how misty it is, but I don't want to risk falling on my icy porch. :)

Re-Introduce Myself Blogfest

It's a day filled with blogfests for me!  To see my post for the Lunar Lovin' Hop, click HERE.  To read my entry for Day #1 of the World Building Blogfest, click HERE.

This blogfest is hosted by Stephen Tremp, Mark Koopmans, Elise Fallson, and C.M. Brown.  The purpose is simply to reintroduce yourself to the growing community of bloggers.  Simply take a moment and tell us something interesting about yourself. Anything. It can be about writing. Or blogging. Or a hidden talent. Perhaps you’re in the Witness Protection Program.  Feel free to keep your post short.  This is meant to be a quick and fun blogfest.

I don't enjoy making a fool of myself.  Acting crazy is one thing, but I don't enjoy making mistakes in front of people.  So when I went out to eat and mistook a container of sugar for a salt shaker, I couldn't admit that I made a mistake.  Yes, my biscuits and gravy were covered with sugar by the time I realized my error, but I couldn't admit it aloud to the other people at the table.  Though they laughed anyway.  What did I do?  I ate the entire thing.  Yes, it tasted disgusting, but I stuck with it and cleaned my plate.  It's been several years since that happened, but I still shudder when I remember the taste.

Let it never be said that I don't finish what I start.  Even when it would be permissible to quit.  I'm just too stubborn.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Musing About My Busy Writing Week

I usually do these posts on Monday, but my blogging schedule for this Monday is so busy that I decided to put this up a day early.    

This past week I resolved to work on my A-Z posts, and I did.  I'll admit, I didn't get quite as far as I'd hoped, but I did get some good work done.  I have no real reason to complain.

I finally decided that I do want to enter both of my blogs in the A-Z challenge.  I even selected a theme for my other blog's A-Z posts and completed a couple of them.  The posts for my writing blog will require more work on my part, but I hope I'll be able to offer something interesting in those other posts as well.  

My goal for the coming week is to complete my A-Z posts through the letter I for both blogs.  Ambitious, maybe, but I think I can do it.  I also need to remember to sign up when the linky list goes live.

It's going to be an insanely busy writing week for me, but I just need to keep telling myself that I can do it.  I know I can.  It's merely a matter of believing I can do it and not making any excuses.

Do you have any specific goals for the week?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Blogspiration 36: Inner Peace

Blogspiration is a weekly meme hosted by GrowingUp YA & Saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers & writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the author’s choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation & just a little SOMETHING.

So many people try to achieve happiness in their lives by buying the latest tech gadgets.  While there is nothing inherently wrong with consuming things, there is something wrong with the idea that you can fill the empty spaces in your life with more stuff that you don't need.

That's why the quote below resonates with me.

Image courtesy of Jennifer Ellison 
Contentment comes from being okay with who you are.  Until you achieve that inner peace, you'll never feel satisfied.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things-Week 2

Thanks to VikLit for hosting this chance to celebrate our little accomplishments each week!  Sometimes we focus so much on trying to get the big things done, we forget about the little things.

I'm a little late in posting this because it's been one of those days.  I just can't seem to get caught up on anything.  I'm still on target to reach the goals I set for myself this week, though I won't meet those goals until tomorrow.  Oh well. Completing your goals for the week on Saturday still counts in my book!

This week my accomplishment is making more time to play with my kids in the midst of all the other things I had to get done.

I also learned that I make a decent play dough lion.

Now here are a couple of pictures of my messy children.  I swear their clothes were clean before we broke out the play dough!

That's my celebration for the week!  What do you have to celebrate?

Memoirs From the End of the World: Entry #21

It's time for another chapter in which our characters struggle for survival.

If you haven't read the prior installments, you can read from the beginning on this PAGE.

Memoirs From the End of the World
Entry #21

RC looked up at Isabel, hesitating as she remembered her wielding that hatchet.  She’d only seen her cut the body down afterwards, but this still raised some doubts in her mind.  Can I trust her?

Then a second thought came.  Can I afford not to trust her?

Turning to look at Alyx, she saw that his hair was matted to his head.  They’d both been sweating in their sleep.  Great as the warmth of the otherwise horrific home felt, they were no longer accustomed to it.  The cold of life on the outside had officially become their reality.

Apart from his messy appearance, Alyx’s eyes were alert and seemed to be forging ahead.  He arrived at his conclusion before RC did.  “That sounds good to me,” he whispered as he scrambled to his knees.  He peered around the doorframe to get a view of the hallway.  “Is anyone else awake?”

Isabel glanced anxiously at the staircase at the end of the hallway.  “I don’t think so,” she replied after a few tense moments.  “We need to move fast though.  It’ll be dawn soon.”

When RC got to her feet, she noticed the blood in Isabel’s hair.  “Are you all right?”

The girl didn’t meet her eye.  “I’ll be all right when we get out of here.”

More questions asserted themselves as RC noted Isabel’s black eye and the blood embedded in her fingernails.  Even so, they hardly had the time for such questions, and she didn’t need to hear the answers to know that Isabel had a bad night.

RC took her coat from Isabel and found her backpack still looped around one of the arms. “It’s here,” she whispered.  It must have fallen off too while Spiked Club made his disgusting advances on her.  A quick survey of contents made it clear that no one had even touched it.

Isabel nodded.  “It was hidden under the coat.  Even if they knew it was there, they would’ve searched through it while you watched.  We don’t need the supplies, but they love making people watch while they take everything from them.”

“I gathered that,” Alyx said bitterly as he pulled on his extra layers of clothes, which he’d stripped off in the closet to avoid roasting entirely.  “Do you have any idea what the weather is like now?”

Isabel shook her head.  “No, but I can say it’s more dangerous in here than it is out there.”

No one could argue that point.  With that in mind, the three of them tiptoed out the door, gently closed it behind them, and ventured into the dark.  The cold bit back even more sharply than it had earlier.  RC’s hair, which had also been dampened with sweat, soon froze as they made their way through drifts of snow.

Between the dark of night and the blowing snow, there was no hope of seeing where they were going.  They had to stick together.  Alyx gripped RC’s hand, though in the cold it was still hard to feel that connection.  To preserve some warmth, RC slipped the sleeve of her coat over his, effectively shielding their bare skin from the wind.  On the other side, Isabel linked her arm through Alyx’s.

As they pushed through the snow, the howling winds in their ears, RC struggled with more doubts.  She couldn’t forget the tracking device she dug out of Ollie’s back when they first met.  Would Isabel have something similar, or did the overlords trust their selected goon squad not to abandon their duties?  If she was being tracked, was her breaking them out a rouse to get to their actual hiding place?  Did Gas Can and the others suspect Alyx was purposely misleading them?  Or even if Isabel was carrying a tracker, maybe she was genuine in her desire to escape.  If that last one were true, RC didn’t know if she could turn her back on her.

No matter what she told Romero, RC realized she couldn’t be as cold as she told herself she needed to be.  Alyx was living proof of that.  And the kids.  Also, though he could be a pain, she didn’t want anything bad to happen to Ollie either.

Yet, bringing Isabel home, right though it might ultimately be, could endanger them all.

If we can even make it back, RC added. 

She had no idea which way they were actually going.  Survival was primary.  They couldn’t possibly make it to the house now.  Finding shelter from the cold and disguising that shelter from anyone who might follow them had to be top priority.

At least the monstrous winds were disguising their tracks.

It seemed like they’d been walking forever when Alyx altered course.  The faint light of dawn punched through the blizzard, turning pitch black to a world of whites and grays.  In that faintly visible world, the structure of an old garage loomed.  It was small, but it would shield them from the worst of the elements.

Soon they were slipping in through a wooden door that didn’t quite fit right in its rotting frame.  A tiny window let in just enough light to reveal that a few discarded items were shoved against the back wall.  They scavenged a tarp, which they secured over the door to help block out the cold air that leaked through.  They also found an old, ratty sleeping bag.  Alyx unzipped it and laid it so it covered all of them when they huddled into the warmest corner they could find.

RC felt somewhat comforted by the arm that Alyx laid across her shoulders.  It reminded her of their time in that closet where she felt the tenderness of human companionship that she’d been missing.  However, feeling it also reminded her of how much she now stood to lose.  Some questions of trustworthiness needed to be addressed before they could move on. 

“Isabel,” RC began, “I need to ask you something.”

Thursday, January 24, 2013

7 Things You Didn't Know About Me!

Jessika Fleck over at the type writer tagged me to join in on a little blogging fun. All I need to do is share 7 things that you didn't know about me, then pass on the honor to other deserving bloggers.

There wasn't a badge for this, so I cobbled this one together in paint in under two minutes.  It isn't fancy, but it adds color to the post, which was my goal all along. 

I'll go ahead and tag people to get it out of the way.  Those of you who I do tag can feel free to use the badge I made.  If you'd rather not, that's fine too.

There's no rule saying exactly how many people to tag, so I'll tag three.  Why?  I love the number three!


Now, here are my seven things!

Thing #1
I've been getting into the habit of listening to StarTalk Radio while I write.  Neil deGrasse Tyson's voice rocks, and I love science!  I find the shows quite inspiring.  If you've never heard it, I highly recommend it!  They're well worth the time.

Thing #2
I cannot stand wearing any kind of turtleneck.  I feel like I'm being strangled every time I try.  Now, I don't care if the turtleneck top in question makes me look amazing.  It simply is not worth the discomfort for me.

Thing #3
I have a thing for old cars.  They seem to have more character.  They have a lifetime of stories, previous owners who lived part of their lives inside them. When I see an old car, I try to picture the people who used to drive them, and all the places where that car might have been.

Thing #4
The only time I feel good about my artistic ability (meaning anything creative not having to do with writing) is when I'm playing play dough with my kids.  Or quilting, though I haven't done that one in several years.

Thing #5
I'm paranoid.  Not about the world ending or anything like that.  I'm just paranoid that I'm always on the verge of ruining something.  Intellectually I know it's not true, but that doesn't stop me from second-guessing everything I'm about to do.

Thing #6
Friday the 13th is supposed to be an unlucky day, but it tends to be a lucky day for me.  I met my husband on Friday, May 13, 2005.  Wow, is that really almost eight years ago?

Thing #7
I love fractals.  They're pretty, and though math wasn't my favorite subject in school by any means, I do appreciate their mathematical properties.

powered by Fotopedia

FSF: Horror Enfolding

Five Sentence Fiction prompts are provided weekly by the inspiring Lillie McFerrin.  This week's word is RINGING.

To read the Unchained story from the beginning, go to this PAGE.

Chapter 16Horror Enfolding

The decapitated head consumed Ylana’s field of vision until a pair of bare feet stepped into view, one of them trampling the flowers.  The feet were smooth and unmarred by the stresses of life, and their slender build made them appear decidedly feminine. 

Image courtesy of Idea go
Long, delicate toes prodded the dead cheek, as if testing the head for any life that might somehow linger in its decaying recesses.  Then equally delicate fingers grasped the head by the hair and, lifting it into the air, brought it level with a face that nearly made Ylana’s heart stop: the murdered woman from the other visions, except here alive and well.

Ylana tried to pull away from the nightmarish image, but the vision held firm, and terrified she might never wake, she screamed, sending her desperate pleas ringing through a world populated only by ghostly recreations of the deceased.

Go to Fragility

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Some Unsolicited Advice on Life (A Poem)

I didn't know what to write for today's post.  I spent a large portion of the past day with a brain-splicing headache.  It got so bad I even threw up.  The whole situation was anything but pretty.  Caring for two noisy children with a bad headache does nothing to help with the pain, but somehow I got through it.  

This left me feeling a bit uninspired, but I wanted to make sure I had something to post.  So I used a random word generator to give me a handful of words and used them to write a poem.    I also used plenty of colors to help brighten an otherwise unpleasant day.

So here's my poem, along with the list of words that inspired it.


Some Unsolicited Advice on Life

Raise your head high brave one,
though all is falling down.
Quiet your temper when trials in
your life make you frown.

Remember if you fail, that means
you tried, at least.
Train yourself to shrug off condemnation
and you'll be left with a feast.

Editing your past to mask the hard times
belittles what made you strong.
Reaching out to hold a guiding hand
can help you move along.

Strive to regain the self-confidence
that you left behind.
Hold on to all the wonderful people
that help ease your mind.

People have a natural way of finding
whatever they require.
In order to live a life that leaves you satisfied,
you must try to inspire.

Accumulating riches may allow a life of ease,
but remember to remain humble.
Regardless of what we do each day,
we will occasionally fumble.

Each time we reach for something new
there may be an unexpected cost.
Don't let this stop you from reaching.
Don't be defined by what you've lost.