Mathew McConaunhey, Hugh Dillion and Sarah Ban Breathnach Walk Into A Bar. . .

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">That sounds like the opening to a great story, doesn't it? Well, I'm hoping it is just that. Now you may wonder what could these three people have in common? If you're not familiar with them, Sarah Ban Breathnach is the author of Simple Abundance and Romancing the Ordinary. Romancing the Ordinary is my favorite book for reasons I'll explain shortly. Hugh Dillon is a Canadian musician and actor, known for being the front man for the Headstones and such shows as Flashpoint, Durham County, and Yellowstone, not to mention the Left 4 Dead video game; and I'm pretty sure you are probably familiar with Matthew McConaughey's work, but are you familiar with his book, Greenlights? That sounds like the opening to a great story, doesn’t it? Well, I’m hoping it is just that. Now you may wonder what could these three people have in common? If you’re not familiar with them, Sarah Ban Breathnach is the author of Simple Abundance and Romancing the Ordinary. Romancing the Ordinary is my favorite book for reasons I’ll explain shortly. Hugh Dillon is a Canadian musician and actor, known for being the front man for the Headstones and such shows as Flashpoint, Durham County, and Yellowstone, not to mention the Left 4 Dead video game; and I’m pretty sure you are probably familiar with Matthew McConaughey’s work, but are you familiar with his book, Greenlights?

Let me explain what these three seemingly unrelated people mean to me. Working a full-time day job and writing novels at night can get a little stressful with the research for my stories, keeping up with the latest trends in publishing, marketing and the constant improvement of my craft. I’m always looking for inspiration and ways to control the stress.

I was searching the internet for some motivation one particularly stressful day. Something more than “you can do it” type of encouragement and I found a link to a YouTube video of Matthew McConaughey and the short video hit home for me. I started listening to it every morning, I began searching for other similar videos and similar motivation. I was sharing my thoughts about the video and my desire to find more with a co-worker with similar interests; she told me about the book, Greenlights. I thought if the book is as powerful as the short video I found, this could be life changing. I wasted no time in ordering a copy. What I learned from the book is that you are never ‘stuck’ with your situation. Each day is an opportunity to change something about your life if it does not satisfy you and make it better. Grow. Evolve.

Then one day in a charming little used book store in Mathews County, I was searching for inspiration for my romance novels. I picked up Romancing the Ordinary, never having read Sarah Ban Breathnach. It is a wonderfully printed book with a ribbon bookmark, rough edges on the pages, and it just makes you feel like you are indulging in something special just by holding it. I started reading it and I was blown away by what I found inside. It turned out not to be at all what I expected and is the inspiration for my journey for the coming year. A short take away is that this book gives you permission, or rather helps you realize that it is absolutely okay to indulge in yourself. In fact, it is a necessity few of us realize. If you think this book isn’t for you, think again. You need this book.

And if you are familiar with Hugh Dillon and the Headstones, you may be asking yourself what does a Canadian rock band have to do with personal growth and self care? Good question. I’ve always turned to music to escape the day to day. I listen to music every day, all day. I have a ridiculous collection of headphones. I enjoy just about any kind of music depending on my mood. One day I was listening to iTunes and I have it set to play music similar to what I am listening to from my playlist. The Headstones popped on and I have to admit I wasn’t familiar with them. I liked what I heard and pulled up their website. I was already familiar with Hugh Dillon as an actor, but not his music, which is a little odd, but we find things along our path in ways we never expect. All of this led me to Hugh Dillon’s solo album, Works Well with Others. And the title hit me, it was perfect. I thought, this has to be an awesome album with a title like that, so I downloaded it and I have listened to it every day for the last several months. It is a little hard to explain, but there is a connection with the music and the lyrics. As I mentioned, I enjoy all kinds of music. But I can’t go a single day without listening to that album. The words and rhythm have become so familiar that hearing them comforts me.

So what does all of this mean? I think now more than ever many of us realize how much we need a change in 2021. You don’t have to be one of those people who make resolutions every year, but if you feel the need to make some changes in your life, or your little piece of the world, the best place to start is with you. I encourage you to open your heart to the music that touches your soul, the words that resonate with you, but not about where you’ve been but where you want to go in life, take care of yourself before you even attempt to take care of anyone else. Accept that you are the only person who can allow growth, change, and care to take place in your life.

Inspiration can come to you from places, people and ways you never expect, keep an open heart and an open mind and they will find you.

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