Hope

“Love comforeth like sunshine after rain.” -William Shakespeare

I know in this beautiful sentence Shakespeare is speaking of love, But I found my mind latched onto the three words at the end,”sunshine after rain.”

Sunshine after rain. Hope. Sometimes the storm you’ve been in seems as if it will never stop, youve been in clouds and darkness for so long you’ve almost forgotten what the sun feels like.

Don’t give up! You may not see it, but behind the clouds there is sunshine.

Hold on.

Hope.

Even though it feels like it, the rain won’t last forever.

1,000 Waves-poem

1,000 Waves

by Autumn Komzik

 

1,000 waves across the sea

1,000 memories made up you and me.

 

Your eyes crinkled at the corners when you smiled

How the books around you, piled.

How you cut the edges off your toast,

How you liked Rock and Roll the most.

 

The waves spread across the sea,

Turning from one into an infinity.

 

The way we jumped in the leaves in the fall,

How you were so tall, and I was so small.

How you kissed me on a football field,

How in a debate about skim milk, you would never yield.

 

Our memories spread across time

Turning from one, to this entire life of mine.

 

You held me when I left my coat,

If I tickled you, you’d give up the remote.

Your eyes were blue like the ocean,

And changed color with every emotion.

 

One day the 1,000 waves hit the land,

Breaking one by one against the sand.

And like the sand,

We slipped–beautiful crystals through our hands.

1,000 “I love you’s” ended in goodbye,

A final hug, tears in our eyes.

 

How do you forget 1,000 things?

How do you let go of 1,000 dreams?

 

It’s been twenty years and 1,000 things–

Jobs, friends, lovers, wedding rings.

 

But when I visit the ocean, look out across the water

I still see

1,000 waves, you and me.

The Voice of the Office, story of inspiration

There are a lot of us who feel or realize maybe our job isn’t anything special– we aren’t preforming surgeries on a day to day basis that save lives, we aren’t flying jets, manning businesses that literally make the world go round. We are the people that maybe sit in an office or flip burgers, cut trees–whatever our occupation is, it isn’t quite our dream job and it doesn’t really feel like it is that big a deal to the world.


 

Her name was Bev, short for Beverly. She had been 25 for exactly 1 month. Twenty-five. A quarter of a century. Five years until thirty. Barely managing to cling onto being able to say, “I’m in my early twenties.” Bev was an average girl, with brown hair, blue eyes and freckles. Bev was also a girl who at one time believed she was going to be one of those people who change the world.

Bev stood in the small office of her job as of a week ago, glancing around the room.  The walls were made of giant bricks which had been painted the exact color of gray which brings to mind a day filled with endless rain. In the small room there were two windows draped with  sun-dyed green curtains, providing an excellent view of the dumpster below. She turned to face her desk where a phone, computer and key board sat, letting out a long sigh. The sigh of a person who realized life was no where near she imagined. The sign of a person who realized her dreams might not come true. She felt the tears rush in, threatening to spill out. She took a deep breath, holding her head slightly back attempting to somehow send the tears back where they came from. She inwardly reminded herself of how when she cried even just a couple drops her nose, eyes–face would be swollen and red as a beet for a the rest of the day. What if someone would stop by? Then she remembered her bosses’ words, “Yeah, at this job you’ll sooner see a cow walk through those doors than another person!”

Bev burst into tears, letting them spill freely down her cheeks.


Boom-boom. Boom-boom. Boom-boom. 

“You here it?” Bev’s Dad asked, his coppery colored eyes crinkling at the corners like they always did when he smiled.

Six-year old Bev nodded, her brown curls swishing. “What is that, Daddy?” Her blue eyes where wide with curiosity.

Her Dad touched the round, metal object pushing it along his chest.

Bev’s eyes got bigger. “Boom-boom, boom-boom….Daddy what is it?!” She clutched the tubes of the stethoscope which were lodged into her ears, trying to figure out where exactly the boom-boom was coming from.

Her Daddy smiled, eyes crinkling, dimples carving alongside the corners of his mouth. “That’s your Daddy’s heart beating,” he said softly.

Bev’s mouth dropped open as she stared at her Dad in stunned silence.

Boom-boom. Boom-boom. Boom-boom.

“That’s your heart, Daddy?”

He nodded.

Bev smiled, pushing the tubes deeper into her ears in an attempt to hear the beat better. Her eyes ran over the purple scars barely inching out of the neck of his button-up shirt. “That’s your new heart beating, Daddy isn’t it?”

Tears were touching his eyes, but she didn’t notice. “Mmmhmm.”

“I can tell it’s BIG and HAPPY–and it’s not gonna get tired like your last one. It’s strong– just like you, Daddy.”


 

Bev had wanted to be a doctor. Since the day she heard her Dad’s new heart beat, since the day she discovered how her Dad’s life had been saved by a heart transplant, since the day she received her first stethoscope, since for as long as she could remember. Bev wanted to save lives. Bev wanted to give people the gift her family had been given. Bev wanted to make a difference in the world.

And here she was sitting at a small office, her stethoscope buried in the back of her closet at home; buried under piles of bills, back luck, her Dad’s death, and the resentment and pain she felt from dropping out of medical school from grief.

What would her Dad think of her? She was working somewhere where she saw more walls than she saw people. Where her boss called her the “voice-literally” of the company because her duty was to manage the phone lines and any other form of communication, yet no one saw or would see her face.

She turned on her computer, and flung herself in the chair feeling hollow and missing her Dad more than ever.

She pulled up her personal email account, breathing heavily. Her eyes fixed onto the last email from him. The last email her dad had sent before he died. She let out a deep breath and clicked onto it, reading over words she had nearly memorized by now. He had spent the last two years before he died traveling, volunteering with mission groups that brought food and medical supplies to children. He had been at a remote village in the Amazon Basin, his email filled with the story of his struggle to communicate with the locals in the village. “After hand motions…talking louder and louder and slower and slower (why we do we automatically do that? Hah! NEVER, EVER WORKS but we still give it a go anyway)…the whole nine yards–The chief smiled. And I smiled. He laughed. I laughed. Smiling–it was just about the only thing we understood. I tell ya…if you wanna make a difference, make someone smile.

At the end he had put the quote, “Everyone smiles in the same language”-don’t you forget it, Love Dad =)

Bev read the quote again and again.  Could she ever really have an impact on someone’s life when her career involved practically zero human contact when it did not involve the phone or email?

She read it again.

smile

 

Bev logged out of her personal account and signed into the office email. As she was replying about a client’s question, she decided send out a smiley face next to her name. Before long, Bev decided to send out a smiley face with as much communication as possible, when appropriate. Whether it was through email or by her personal signature, she always sent out a little smile. She didn’t really think it would make a huge difference, but she felt like maybe she was at least sending a little happiness someone’s way.


 

Two years later…

Bev looked into the tiny office with it’s gray brick walls, sagging curtains, and old computer one last time, her heart swelling with happiness and sadness all at once. She had just learned what a difference that smile made. She received hundreds of calls, emails, gifts, and notes of gratitude from so many people she never even met. Hundreds of people had flooded her with gifts, memories of small conversations or shared laughs, saying they would miss “the girl who sent smiles”. Notes which said, “I will never forget the girl who made people smile.” “I know we never met, but we became friends, how amazing is that.” “Bev, you made me feel like I mattered,  you are an amazing young girl.”

Apparently that smile mattered to some people a lot, a lot more than Bev realized.

Today Bev is a cardiologist, making her dreams a reality, and signing her name with a smile.

Wherever you are you can touch someone else’s life. If you can brighten someone else’s day or make them laugh or smile, or complement them in some way, you are a world changer. Even if it was just for a moment, you made someone feel like they mattered or that they were special. We need more of that in the world.

Wherever you are…whoever you are…you can make a difference!

Happy Wednesday!

How to “disgruntle” a good employee in 4 simple steps

We all know employees come in every shape and form. There are bad employees, mediocre, okay, pretty good, and then there are The Good Employees.

The Good Employee usually possesses the following attributes:

  1. Dependable
  2. Dependable
  3. Dependable
  4. Motivated
  5. Positive

Basically The Good Employee is the person, who when you glance at the schedule and see their name, you sigh with relief and say, “Thank goodness, it is going to be a good day, so-and-so is going to be here.” The Good Employee is someone who can be counted on, doesn’t create drama, is motivated, and is a generally cheerful individual.

But, even the best employee can become…disgruntled. How do you describe a disgruntled person? A disgruntled person is someone who is unhappy, dissatisfied, angry, or feels unappreciated. According to Forbes Magazine, in 2013 over 2 million Americans were quitting their jobs EVERY MONTH. Alas it is 2015, so perhaps things have changed, but I’m just betting there are millions of people out there who were originally excited about working at the place of their employment and now are on a frantic job search. I’m sure MANY of these people are good employees–employees that show up, do their best, and try their hardest to be dependable. Well, why are they in such a hurry to leave their company they were once excited to work for?

How to “disgruntle” The Good Employee in 4 simple steps

  1. Don’t show concern for your employee’s personal life or well-being. I know work is work and we are supposed to leave our personal life kind of at the doorstep of our company, but if an employer never takes the time to just attempt to know a few things about who you are as a person (or even your name depending on the size of the company), then The Good Employee can easily start to feel as if all they are is a number.
  2. Overwork. You love it when so-and-so works. It means the place will run smoothly. So why not schedule them all seven days of the week? Clearly, overworking your employees will lead to exhaustion, irritability, and on the hunt for a new job where they feel…. more valued.
  3. Don’t listen. In some companies the managers or employers are people who have never been in the shoes of the lowest employee on the totem pole. They may burst out a list of demands with little or no thought or realization that even Superman cannot accomplish the said list of demands. Or an issue comes up and instead of listening to the full report on what happened, an individual is blamed for something they shouldn’t be blamed for. A company is about working as a team. You may be the leader at the helm but without your team, you wouldn’t be anything. We can all learn from each other. We can all learn from the guy at the bottom and we can all learn from the guy at the top. If A Good Employee shares thoughts, concerns, ideas…whatever, with a manager and nothing is done…the Good Employee will start to seek a job elsewhere.
  4. Never say thank you. Or never SHOW appreciation. I saved this one for last because all of the other steps hinge on this one. Feeling unappreciated day in and day out will turn The Good Employee into The Angry Employee. Sadly, millions of us feel extremely unappreciated at our jobs. (By the way, I’m not saying you should expect $2,000 dollars for just sitting at your desk. If you work hard you should get rewarded. If not, well…just work hard!) Never giving raises, never saying thank you, never pointing out the good in a person will lead to all of your good employees fleeing from your company.

Where the rubber hits the road: It is this simple, if you want to KEEP your good employees and have even more good employees working for you…never underestimate showing appreciation through listening, recognition, not overworking, and taking the time to get to know them.

Just Keep Writing

Dear Writers,

Just because someone you know has not been able to publish any of their 20 manuscripts….does not mean you won’t be able to publish your 1 manuscript.

I finally met a fellow writer…in person. I feel like most of the writers I know are trapped in the glass, plastic and metal components of my cell phone or laptop, in the world of social media. Every now and then I think to myself I wish some of these writer people lived nearbywhat great friends we’d be! It’s strange because sometimes it’s hard to imagine these people (often in different countries!) are actually real. And I am sure Pennsylvania has writers…I just need to get out more… visit more coffee shops perhaps.

But finally, I was able to sit face to face, shake the hand of an actual fellow writer. Let me just say, it is awesome to be chatting with someone and discover they are a writer too!

I was in Colorado last week, at an interview. You know me, it seems lately when I am not writing I spend my time either at interviews or preparing for interviews. LOL. I even have an interview later today (wish me luck)!  A blog post may be coming soon about interviews, What I have Learned So Far or Interviews and Introverts (Although I don’t know if I’m exactly an introvert…just SCARED SILLY when it comes to interviewing!). I have now had Skype, Government, interviews in front of a board of 5+ people, phone interviews, interviews with presentations, interviews with literary agents (the MOST terrifying!), interviews in which the interviewers pretended to be students misbehaving (the latest)….and more. So definitely have had a broad range of experiences, some very positive and some not so much! So stay tuned for this future post!

Anyway, back in Colorado. The writer I met was a History Teacher and let me just say the man was intelligent.I'm Brilliant It wasn’t that he was one of those people who tries to shove their intelligence in your face, “BTW…I’m brilliant!” He was one of those people whose words, mannerisms, and whole persona spoke of genius.

Like without trying the intelligence would pop out of him in little bursts. Anyway, SUPER, SUPER nice guy! In conversation he hears me say that I’m a writer/working on writing a Historic Romantic Suspense series. We get to talking and he has written a several books. Boy was I excited to hear from this more seasoned writer’s experiences. One of my favorite comments he told me (while laughing) he received from an agent rejection letter was, “Loved your characters, but the end of the book was like an empty room with white walls.” As he told me more and more about his experience he said he could probably fill a small room with the number of letters, emails and notes of the times he’s been rejected. I felt my stomach twist.

I’ve always believed that some way, some how if I don’t give up I will find an agent, I will get published. It may take a LONG time and a lot of rejections but I believed that if I didn’t quit it would pay off. Hearing that this amount of rejection happened to a man who doesn’t quit easily, who is incredibly brilliant, and his book had yet to been published… was discouraging.

But then…

That is his story.

Not mine. (NOT YET anyway!)

I just want to tell all of you writers out there it can get discouraging when you hear about the failures and rejections other writers have experienced. (Especially when those writers are brilliant and creative and good at what they do!) But just because they got rejected does not mean YOU will.

DON’T GIVE UP. KEEP WRITING!

A close up at the best bookstore…ever

A long time ago I wrote a post called Beautiful Bookstores. In that post you got a glimps of The Barns and Nobles located in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. 

Last week I decided it has been too long since my visit to this amazing book store! This time I went prepared to take pictures and share them with you!

   
     

  

  

  

  

  

  

 I know some of the pictures are blurry  but I think you can still see the awesomeness! 

If you ever visit Baltimore you’ve got to check out this bookstore!  

JUST ASK

One of the biggest things I’ve learned in life so far as a twenty something year old (and still learning) is the power the following phrase has: JUST ASK 

How many times do we analyze, ponder, worry our brains out for hours…days…months…even years because of situations that have happened in our lives? A friend turning suddenly distant, never getting the promotion, that relationship we want to happen never happening…

We rack our brains trying to handle these situations…figure them out–but we never dare ask. 

We end up wondering around for far too long in a gray space of uncertainty and often insecurity. And if it goes on for too long we get bitter.

But what if we just had asked? 

Just asking can be scary–It is absolutely scary because the answer will leave you no longer hovering in the gray area. The answer is black and white…it has the potential to fulfill your dreams or take them away. Out of fear we often tell ourselves we like the gray area because at least there’s hope there. We tell ourselves things will sort themselves out!

Let me tell you from experience the gray area of unasked questions is an exhausting area to be. It steals your energy, joy and confidence. It robs you of your own potential and growth in life. The gray area is a thief of dreams, and we don’t even realize it. The gray area is a life of what ifs. 

Just asking opens doors, windows, those dusty old closets and let’s the fresh air of certainty in. 

Just asking also closes doors, sometimes with a painful slam that leaves us reeling for days. But after that door closes and we pick ourselves up, something amazing happens: We start to search for a new door or we finally see the door right next to the one that is locked for eternity, wide open with sunlight streaming through it. 

Just asking will lead you to new friendships, amazing adventures and to where you are supposed to be in life. It will lead you to moving on to something better for you or will show you how to unlock that door you so badly want to open. 

Kiss the gray area of uncertainty and what ifs goodbye and JUST ASK. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Saturday! 😀

The little seed that sprouted into a book

I was thinking today about the first little thought I had that led to the creation of my book. What was it? Where did it all begin? What was that one little seed of an idea that led to something huge–hopefully really huge, as in published huge–?

The idea of my book literally came from a dream I had a long time ago, when I was in my teens. 

Several types of people show up in dreams…there’s you, the main character; then sometimes, many times your best friends, they are the side kicks or the Robin to you, Batman; then there’s the people you think about ALOT, the Prince Charming of your dream. Of course you have your dream villains who come out in every shape and form (cafeteria lady, random customer, your arch nemesis, a cupcake….etc.). Beyond these main players in a dream you also have random people–the fillers; they make up the backdrop. I don’t know about you but half of the time I am like “who are these people?!?!” I don’t recognize them at all…not a bit! I’ve told myself they come from images my mind retained but I don’t remember at all. For example–the people you pass by in Walmart. 

Getting to the point, one of these filler people appeared more and more in my dreams….slowly working up to becoming Robin status. And I wondered if the person really existed out there somewhere. 

There was the idea. 

My book is about a girl who in her dreams is madly in love with a guy who in real life doesn’t exist….or does he? I threw in a murder and a wedding, to spice it up. 

So that’s my story on how a little thought sprouted into the creation of my book. 😀

What about you? What was the idea, life moment that led to your book? 

Writing (such an original title, I know)

I think one thing that makes someone a writer is not just the urge to write…but the NEED.

I had a long weekend spent in Virginia…a weekend without a piece of paper or keyboard or a pen–not really, all of these objects were available–the real problem was my inability to steal away and write. I think getting away from it all is always a good thing. Breaks work wonders for the mind and body! However, I had that itch. You know that feeling…where you have got to write (or it could get ugly…;) ). I made it back late Monday night, surviving with the knowledge I could write to my hearts desire after I got off of work the next day. Then I checked my email. It’s past 1:00AM, I am lying in my bed, I have to work in the morning…and (after of course the habitual checking of other social media sites) I check my email.

One new message.

I bolt up to sitting position. It’s from a job I applied to. I have an interview! Then I realize the interview will take place…on Tuesday. What was then just about 16 hours away. If you have ever read my post about what happens to me during an interview (mind goes blank…panic mode turns on….etc.) you know I have to give interviews a lot of prep time so I am completely ready for anything blown my way. Thank goodness it was a phone interview…but still….the writing would have to wait.

I’ve heard people say writing can be therapeutic. I think that’s for me it’s absolutely true. After the interview I realized a move literally across the country to Seattle might be in my future (I couldn’t believe I actually heard back from a job so far away). Was this what I really wanted? Seattle? The same day I found out my best friend is moving…OUT OF THE COUNTRY. =(  Life can change so quickly. The good news was my dreams of visiting Europe felt more like a reality. We decided we would meet up in Europe, (I threw out that we’d meet in Greece, I’ve always wanted to see the Mediterranean ) when I finally have enough saved up to go. After the interview, after talking to my best friend…I felt I don’t know…sad and heavy. I had the weight of making a huge decision on my shoulders and was already missing my friend (kindred spirits don’t come around every day!). Writing seemed like the last thing I should do when I had a lot to think (worry…analyze) about.

Yesterday I brewed up some coffee….and instead of pondering life… I just wrote. And gosh, I felt so much better! Writing sometimes helps us focus on something different, helps us get our emotions out and share our hearts. Long story short, I got some of that novel done (and wrote a poem!)….and felt refreshed and renewed. Writing was able to bring me that feeling you have on a really hot day, when your throat is parched and finally take that first sip of ice cold water. AAAHHH.

They Never Knew, A poem

They Never Knew

Her heels click across the floor

Pausing, she opens the old church door.

Heads across the room turn

Making her hands tremble and her cheeks burn.

Then it comes–

That quiet rush

That gentle hum

The deafening hush–

The sound of 1,000 words spoken

The silent looks seeing the 1,000 rules she’d broken.

Tears sting her eyes

And she puts her head down

A baby cries,

And an old woman frowns.

The preacher’s voice rises and falls

The whispers echo across the walls;

She sinks silently into a pew

And thinks, “If only they knew.”

They saw a girl in a short red dress

Sky-high heels, her hair a mess.

What they didn’t see

Was a silent plea;

Eyes puffy from how much she’d cried

A heart broken from watching her Father die.

She’d become an orphan the night before

She had no place to call home anymore.

When the service was over

She left the church pew

Her heart breaking,

And no one ever knew.

-AK

This doesn’t just happen in churches…it happens in schools…at work….everywhere. We are so fast to judge people without bothering to actually care about them. Gosh…we’ve got to stop!