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Having lived in Florida for many years has given me the opportunity to learn from the lives of those much older than myself.

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There are two things I must do. One is write, and the other is run. The problem is there are days when I don’t feel like doing either.  On days when I accomplish both, I feel complete. I feel like me. Yet, for as many miles as I’ve run each time I begin, I must fight the demons that tell me to stop. Every step I take fuels me to keep going until I reach a stride where my mind focuses, and running is enjoyable. The first two miles are always the toughest. It’s the same for writing. Getting started can be a battle. I’m working on my third novel, and it’s not any easier than the first. Actually, it’s harder because I’m learning more. When I sit down to work on my manuscript or to write a post I go through an entire Facebook, email, Pinterest ritual before I begin. The longer I wait, the more I torture myself until finally, I focus. And it is torture because I let the fear swirl around in my mind growing more intense with every minute.

The lesson I’ve learned from writing and running is the importance of doing something–anything when faced with fear. Taking that first step toward doing the very thing that frightens you is empowering. It teaches you to get up, get courageous and go! It’s not easy. The things we feel the most fearful of are the things that are the most important to us. We can choose to let fear immobilize us or we can walk confidently in the direction of our fear and do something.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between happiness and joy. Happy is what most people say they want to be. Happy is ripping open presents, enjoying our favorite meal, or watching our football team score the winning touchdown. Happiness is dancing and singing. Happiness is an emotion that fills us, makes us smile, laugh, and emanate an energy that others respond to. However, sometimes happiness can be tied to an outcome we are seeking. I’ll be happy when….  If our goals aren’t met, or things don’t go exactly the way we planned, or we don’t get the gift we were hoping for then we may not allow ourselves to be happy.

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Driving in Cape Coral, especially during the winter, can be an interesting experience. We have drivers from all over the country and around the world. This time of year the roads are crowded!

Not long ago, I was running errands. I had been to the gym, stopped at a local shop to buy Roscoe and Smudge’s  treats and was on my way to the next stop. My holiday music played, the sun was bright, and the decorations lined the street.

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I’m heartbroken. I’m in shock. I was sure she was going to win. I didn’t believe for a second that there were that many people who were angry enough to vote for him. I live in Lee County. I saw the signs and bumper stickers, but then I’d talk to people at the gym, in the store, in my neighborhood and hear kindness, not anger.

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Love. I stopped at the vet to pick up Roscoe and Smudge’s heart and flea meds. My mind raced with everything on my to-do list. The line to check-out was long. I waited. That’s when an open door caught my attention. A metal table. A towel. A tiny brown body lying still.

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