Fill Up the Bucket
PCT's, Positive CJ Thoughts, it's been a while. Ever since I stopped writing this blog weekly, it got easier and easier to skip a week here or there because I was too busy. I thought I was too busy to write down a few thoughts and share a laugh or a word of encouragement always. It didn't mean I wasn't trying to encourage others in some way with a kind word, a door held open, or refilling someone's coffee cup. I've been just a bit busy trying to release one book while writing another. 'The Bucket List' is now available!
Being positive, finding kindness, and lifting people up, isn't just something I put in a blog, it's how I live my life. I've had so many things that could've driven me completely inside myself, but I refused to let those things hold me back from anything. When I see someone struggle, it's my nature to help in some way and find the solution if I can.
I think it's what helps me develop my characters with all their strengths, and yes, their flaws. I will admit that most of my characters have some small piece of me or someone I know. In my occupation, I teach rookie firefighters how to do their job. One piece of advice I give them, is to take two things from everyone they work with. Take one thing that you admire about that person and find a way to integrate that into your life it and look at one thing that you see as a quality you don't want to copy and avoid it. I do that with my characters.
Not every negative scene is something that's happened to me personally but the emotions of the scene often come from my experiences.
On Thanksgiving Day, we released my latest novel, 'The Bucket List'. This book was born out of a single thought--- life is short, make it count. I've shared with you before how the loss of my friend Chris earlier this year, affected me. It's still affecting me.
When Chris found out he had inoperable cancer, he and his wife were determined that they would live out what ever time he had left to the fullest. He and Kelly would fill up 'the dash between' with all the things they wanted to do. When he passed, there were only a few things left on that list. His spirit is reflected in my characters as he never gave up.
In my newly released novel, 'The Bucket List', my main character Jordan, refuses to believe that the missing link to her super-food can't be found. Her friends Max and Sam are determined to hold dementia at bay, as long as they can. Her sister Dava, despite her differently-abled body, refuses to be defined by the wheelchair she spends her life in. Even Noeul had refused to let go of the dreams she and her deceased wife made as she fulfilled their 'bucket list' after Aggie's death. From the great beyond, Aggie is determined to make Noeul realized she must continue to live.
As I tried to channel Aggie's thoughts, a scripture came to me. I used that to craft this scene from 'The Bucket List'.
Reaching a small outcrop of rocks, Noeul climbed up to enjoy the view and take in a few minutes of solace in the bright sunlight. Kyo sat beside her, turning her head curiously from side to side, as if she was listening to something. Noeul listened. Faint at first, yet still audible, the words were familiar. She’d learned the Bible verse from Ecclesiastes in Sunday school.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Noeul knew the voice, and her eyes searched frantically for the face she longed to see more than anything. She squinted and held her hand to her eyes in an attempt to shield them from the bright light of the sun.
“The time to mourn and weep is past and gone. A new season is blowing in, and with it, a chance to laugh and dance. Don’t hold your heart back. There is a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to tear down and a time to build. Our time was short, I know. I’m gone, my love, and it’s time for you to live. Listen to your heart, my love, not your head.”
Noeul rose and thrust her hand toward a very bright light. “Don’t go, Aggie, please don’t go. I need you.”
“A time to search, a time to throw away and a time to keep. A time to tear and a time to mend. When the seeker finds you, know that it’s time to mend and time to love again. Do this for me, my most precious one, and I’ll rest happy.”
'The Bucket List' will take the reader on a journey across the United States and into the wonders that exist in our National Parks. Some will be familiar to the reader and other locations will be close to those wonders and reveal tidbits of history along the way.
All along the journey, the central theme of making this life count, is driven home. I'm a believer in trying to achieve this goal every day.
Almost twenty six years ago, I was told I'd never be a professional firefighter for the city I now work for. Number one, I was female and there had never been one. I was small and not as strong as I needed to be. The first time I tested, I failed. I made it my mission not to fail when the next one came around.
I spent many years living my spiritual life and my romantic life for someone else, to make someone else happy. When I started living for myself, when I started understanding that life was too short to be unhappy, I embraced the motto Carpe Diem, seize the day. In a few short days, I will hit the big FIVE ZERO...one half of a century will have passed since I came into this world. I still have much to do and much to experience.
With those thoughts in mind, my wife and I made the decision to build our home where and when we did. It wasn't easy to overcome some of the many obstacles we faced. The road in wasn't suitable for constant travel, there was no water source, and no electricity.
Slowly, one project at a time, we overcame all of those obstacles and find ourselves spending our second Christmas in our new home, high on a mountain top, deep in the woods.
My point to all of this is, in the grand scheme of things, life is incredibly short. For most of us, we believe we only get one, so making the most of it should occupy a place of importance. I read something years ago that said at the end of our days, we won't look back and say I wish I'd have worked more or purchased more things. We'll look back and wish we'd have spent more time with those we love, that we'd have gone places and done things to make fond memories to look back on. Fill up that bucket!!!
That's my point, put check marks by those things you want to do. At the end of your days, I hope you have fond memories to look back on and deep love to have been grateful for.
'The Bucket List' is available on Smashwords,
and soon...Bella Books. If you enjoy the 'The Bucket List', I would humbly ask you to leave an honest review on either Amazon or Goodreads. Share your thoughts. It truly is important to authors.
A few reviews have already come in and I am beyond pleased with the responses. Pick up your copy today!