Happy New Year!

Today I would like to share some photos with you. The pictures are from book signings, writer’s conferences, and speaking events. I thought this would be a nice way to recap, and prepare for the New Year! These pics may give you a glimpse into my life, and what it is like to be a writer. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed the moments they were taken.

The gorgeous view from the balcony of my hotel room at a writer’s conference in Las Vegas! When I got to the hotel, it felt surreal.
In CALIFORNIA after another writer’s conference last year in March, enjoying the beautiful scenery!

 

What an exhilarating time! I shared with my friend Millie’s non-profit group at a speaking engagement in April.

 

Reading an excerpt from my book, Not Without God at a book-signing sponsored by Beztak Homes last September! So fun!

 

A special moment with Linda and her daughter, Sara!
The “Not Without God” cake at my book party in November. My sister-in-law shocked me when she walked into the room with this! So awesome!

Happy 2015! Thank you to everyone, I had a great year! I wont forget it. I look forward to our friendship for many years to come.

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

Writing is an Art

“Thoughts” ~ by Zina Hermez

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

 

A Writer’s Soul

From theexaminer.com

I first learned of Virginia Woolf in a class I took in college years ago. I loved my English classes; I got to read literature, often times historical literature, and a lot of it was about different writers or people who have made an impact. I learned about American classic writers such as Henry David Thoreau, Edgar Allen Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederick Douglas, Sylvia Plath, and others.

It’s striking to me that both Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf committed suicide. I tried to make the connection, and found it interesting that they were both writers. I mean I’ve heard before that artists can be more inclined to things such as depression and mental illness. I find it so sad that these talented women died by taking their own lives.

I came across this quote and it spoke to my heart so I wanted to share it. Whenever I’m done writing I feel a sense of relief. But many thoughts I have remain. There is so much more I want to say. Sometimes I hold back. Writers can be good at doing that. I would love for my works to reflect ALL the secrets of my soul, experiences of my life, and qualities of my mind!

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

 

My Christmas Note

Dear friends,

This is a Christmas letter I shared with close contacts earlier today. I wanted to share it with you, my readers because you have really supported me in my writing too. Thank YOU! Please click on this link: http://eepurl.com/baae45.

If you would like to receive news such as book-signings, speaking events, or periodical updates please click on this link here: http://eepurl.com/19Hl1. to subscribe to occasional newsletters.

Merry Christmas to you and your families!

May the joy, peace, and light of Christmas be with you now and through the new year!

Sincerely,

 

~Zina Hermez

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

Writing is Remedy

My article was shared on the Breathe Christian Writers Conference blog earlier today, and I wanted to share it! Here is the link http://breatheconference.com/home/featured-articles/writing-is-remedy.html it describes how writing helped me in the most difficult time in my life, after my accident. It also explains how writing is a hobby of mine, and how I’ve been drawn to it all my life.

Writing is a remedy. Writing helps me heal. Writing helps me grow.

I went to the conference for the first time in October of this year. I made new friends, and it was nice to connect with other writers in my home state of Michigan. I plan on going to Breathe again. I was honored to write this article, and have it shared on their website. I look forward to learning more about the art of writing there!

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

My Writing Life

Found on pinterest.com

This is how I feel about my writing. There is so much I want to say. Many thoughts I have remain, and they keep piling up. Little by little, I get them out. Each time I express myself, I feel relieved. Still it’s not enough. It’s never enough. I hold back at times. I don’t want to say too much. So I write again and again. Writers can get good at holding back. I have so much to say. So much I want to share. Not enough time. Sometimes not enough guts.

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages. Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

Book-signing party!

Not Without God cake!I had an incredible time last night! I really appreciated everyone coming out on a very cold day. Being an author is so enjoyable! It’s amazing that God keeps opening doors. I feel blessed, and grateful for this purpose. To be able to reach others through my writing is a gift.

I signed and personalized books. I gave a short talk called A Few Ways to Overcome Adversity. It’s a spin-off from a podcast I am going to post. I got positive feedback from the guests. It was a great night! As you can see in the photo, my sister-in-law created this wonderful cake! It was perfect.

Not Without God: A Story of Survival books were sold as well as Not Without God: A Story of Survival bracelets. Copies of my book and bracelets are both available online. Visit my website: http://zinahermez.com. I gave a free copy of Not Without God to our book raffle winner, Jeff! It was a night filled with laughter, love, friendship, and fun!

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

Why I Write

From the examiner.com

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

A Book Signing!

What a wonderful memory! This pic was taken on Apr. 30 at my speaking event “How to Live Your Vision and Overcome Your Challenges with Zina Hermez.” Dan won our book prize! book raffle

I had the opportunity to speak to all of the A2 LEAP entrepreneurs, thanks to my good friend, Millie Chu. A2 LEAP is her non profit organization. A2 LEAP stands for: Authentically Awesome (A2), Leaders, Entrepreneurs, Achievers, and Professionals (LEAP)! Isn’t that cool? She’s pictured with me below. On November 21, 2014 at 6pm. I will have another Book event. If you are in the Michigan area, we would love to have you! If you would like to travel, we’d love for you to join us! Please sign up here to receive updates about my book events! http://eepurl.com/19Hl1.wpapr30wm

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

How Writing Helps

Do you have any hobbies? What are they? Writing has been a hobby for me. I’ve been drawn to it, and I’ve always written. I wrote when I was in the second grade. I’ll never forget winning my first story contest in elementary school. I won a few. My teacher was so proud that she designed a nice booklet for me with all of my stories.

The first loss I ever experienced was losing that book. When I couldn’t find it, I remember searching the basement tirelessly for at least a couple of hours. I could’ve misplaced it, but it was my first heartbreak. I was so sad. My first award, and here, I lost it.

I wrote letters addressed to God each night at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital after my accident as a teen. I poured out the sorrows, hopes, and prayers of my heart in the most difficult time in my life.

I wrote through college–successes, heart breaks, frustrations, and accomplishments. I kept thick journals, and wrote often when I felt the urge. I had to get out my emotions and thoughts.

I wrote as a child. I wrote as a teen. I wrote in college. I’m still writing… I believe writing is a great release. I know it has a healing effect on me. I believe it can help all of us.

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! on line website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

 

 

Three Basic Tips on How to Become a Writer

I went to the Breathe Conference yesterday, and I got back earlier today. I always like going to Writers conferences because they are a nice short getaway. You also get to meet other writers, and spend a little time bonding with others who have the same interests that you do. Writing can be a lonely experience. Instead of being at a desk behind your computer, you can get out there and share!

You can pick and choose which workshops you would like to go to. Breathe had four or five seminars going at one time so there were options. Some of the workshops I went to were on how to start and maintain a writing career, how to create good dialogue in your writing, and how to add cool graphics to your website/blogs.

All of them had great information, and were very interesting. One of my favorites was the one about adding graphics to your blog. I gained a lot of new information. Some of the tips and suggestions in the other workshops I’d already heard before, although I did learn some new things.

Have you ever thought about becoming a writer?

Here are a few simple things you can do:

Connect with other writers: join a writers’ group, attend a writers’ conference, share your writing with your friends or family, find an accountability partner (that was a new piece of advice I learned at the conference). I really like that one!

Start a blog. I know it sounds intimidating. If you’re really worried about your grammar and spelling, or unsure about what to write. Let me know maybe I can help you. Your blog should have a focus. Who would be your ideal audience?

Reading others writing can really help, and it is a great way to write well. Reading and writing go hand in hand. The best writers are the best readers. I have shared this with my students before. Make reading a priority.

I’m looking into starting a writers group. Let me know if you’re interested! I would like to meet at least once a month…

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez has authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and has created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! on line website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

 

“The Crucifixion” ~ by Mia Tavonatti

photo
“The Crucifixion” ~ by Mia Tavonatti

This huge stained glass mosaic took my breath away at the Writers conference today. It is located in the Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in the Matthews Performing Arts Center. As soon as I saw it I fell in love so I wanted to share. It was an art prize winner for all of Grand Rapids, and you can see it takes up much of the wall. The colors are vibrant and beautiful, and even brighter than in this photo. I had never been to Cornerstone University or Grand Rapids Theological Seminary before today. But I went to a few great workshops, and met some really nice people so I’m looking forward to the workshops that will be held tomorrow as well!

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez has authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and has created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! on line website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

Breathe Christian Writers Conference

Hi everyone,

I’m excited to go to Breathe Christian Writers conference this weekend! I haven’t been to Breathe yet, and I’ve heard great things about it. I love to meet new people, and I will be able meet writers in my home state of Michigan. It will be nice to get some questions answered and exchange information.

I’ve met many writers, but both of the conferences I’ve been to so far were outside of my state. I went to a conference in Las Vegas last year in October, then I went to another conference in Las Angeles earlier this year in March. I will stay closer to home.

I love this time of year – the fall! I look forward to the drive, relaxing, and staying in a nice hotel. It will be a short getaway, only for one night but it should be fun. I’m thinking of it as a gift to myself after a lot of hard work, and I want to celebrate the release of “Not Without God,” my book!

I also registered for a poetry workshop called “Perspectives on Writing and the Poet’s Life” with Matthew Landrum. I’ve been really interested in poetry lately, and I’ve added a poetry section to my blog so I’m looking forward to the workshop.

Have you ever been to a Writers conference before? Did I peak your interest? You can learn a lot about writing, marketing, and speaking there. Let me know if you have any questions about what happens at a Writer’s conference, and I will be happy to answer in the comments.

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez has authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and has created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! on line website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

 

Not Without God Book Launch

Hello friends,

Not Without God: A Story of Survival will be available in bookstores across the country tomorrow, October 7. It is already being shipped out. Will you be a part of my team? I NEED your help. I am asking you–my friends, and family.

A few ways you can help:

Have you bought my book? If not this would be a good time because I’m giving away a free Not Without God bracelet with each purchase now through Friday, October 10. I’m offering this promotion to celebrate! Just visit: http://www.zinahermez.com.

Facebook Share: I’m hoping to see Facebook shares with a link to my website where others can purchase the book over the next few days at http://zinahermez.com. These shares today and tomorrow would be great!

Twitter Update: Are you a Tweeter? I’ll need your help. If you follow me on Twitter please Retweet any book posts or links you see, or feel free to tweet my link on your own: http://zinahermez.com.

I hope you’re in! I would be so grateful, I would never have come to this point without all of your help!

Yours truly,

 

Zina Hermez

Author, Not Without God

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez has authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and has created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! on line website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

Not Without God – an Excerpt

Today I’d like to share a passage from my book Not Without God: A Story of Survival. As you may already know my life is a miracle, and so is the ability to walk after an accident that left me paralyzed as a teen. In the hospital I kept a journal, and each night at midnight—under my covers, with my flashlight in one hand and a pencil and pad in the other, with 10,000 Maniacs playing “These Are The Days” and “Garden of Eden” in the background—I would write.

Here is a journal entry I wrote.

“Dear God, I believe You are with me—listening to me and answering my prayers. I feel lucky. I have You here. That’s because I’ve opened my heart, and I’m trying to more and more every day. I don’t know how I got so lucky. Because before this accident I didn’t know exactly how You worked. I was insecure because I didn’t know who I was.”

I would ask God to make me a better person. I was confused. I knew there was a God and that He was mighty, but I couldn’t grasp everything. I believed my prayers were answered through my tragedy. I was thankful, and I felt lucky that God saved me from the accident. The outpouring of love and support made me feel even more fortunate.

The passage continues.

“But now it’s like I have found myself, I know who I am, what I want, where I am going. And I’m sure of myself. I don’t know. But no matter what, I’m thankful. How did I get so lucky for you to help me and save me from the accident? And help me see clearly. I know it came from You.”

Every time I feel upset or down I try to revisit this place. A place where I was simply thankful (for breath and life). It makes all the other stuff seem not so important. I return to thankfulness and gratitude. This was a turning point, and it is from Chapter 2 of my book.

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez has authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and has created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! on line website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

Not Without God book event!

My first book-signing party took place earlier this month on September 5. Sponsored by Beztak Homes and held right in my hometown, I had a wonderful time. Many supportive friends came out on a stormy night. I gave a talk that was centered on a speaking engagement I’ve given called, “How to Live Your Vision and Overcome Your Challenges!”

friends
With my friend Samara!

Not Without God: A Story of Survival books were displayed as well as bracelets that I designed. I made the bracelets to match the colors of my book. Copies of my book are available now on my website at http://zinahermez.com. People were purchasing both, and I signed and personalized the books. There were appetizers, networking, friendship, and fun! It was very nice.

I was able to share my story and offer simple methods on how I healed after my accident with tips like prayer, exercise, keeping a journal, and more… I read a few excerpts from my book.

I opened with a quote that is one of my favorites, “Love is a force that is able to heal the worst of situations.” I explained to my audience how love saved my life after my accident in 1994 through the care of doctors, nurses, family, and friends. I then challenged my audience to ask themselves how they could give or invite more of this love into their life. The kind of love that has the power to heal and the power to save. The kind of love that I experienced.

Our prize drawing was a copy of my book, Not Without God. The winner, Elizabeth, was excited and that really meant a lot. She assured me the book could not have come at a better time since she is going through a divorce. She also said she really needed to hear my talk that night. I appreciated the feedback. It’s always a blessing to receive responses like this after I’m done speaking, or after someone has read my writing.

I’m rapidly approaching the launch of my book, Not Without God! It will be released in October and available online or at your favorite bookstore! It is available in bookstores and online right now for pre-order. I will attend a Writer’s conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan next month. I really look forward to meeting a few writers there that I have only met on line, and I also look forward to making new friends. I’m grateful for all of the love and support I have received. It is a busy, but exciting time!

 

The Benefits of Being in Groups

My friend Millie invited me to speak to her non-profit organization, A2 LEAP last Wednesday in Michigan. A2 LEAP stands for: Authentically Awesome (A2), Leaders, Entrepreneurs, Achievers, and Professionals (LEAP)! Isn’t that cool? I’m a member of this dynamic and thriving group. I was able to share my story with them, and offer some tips on how I healed after my accident with a little bit of my writing. It was such a wonderful experience.mespeak

One of our prize drawings was a copy of my book, Not Without God: A Story of Survival. The winner was excited, and it was really neat to witness that. The event was called, “How to Live Your Vision and Overcome Your Challenges! by Zina Hermez.” I knew some of the people there and had already become friends with them at previous events. Some of the faces were new, but everyone was friendly and warm welcomed me. I started off my speech by thanking them. After I was finished, I got some really great feedback. I can’t remember the last time I went to sleep so happy!

Almost two weeks ago, I launched my new website: http://zinahermez.com Please take a look, and let me know what you think. I will be adding a “Speaking” tab to it very soon. I’m blessed because I get to do what I love—write and speak. I feel a sense of peace. I’m grateful for the new friendships I’ve made. In general, I’m grateful for all of the love and support I have received. It feels so good to be here. Despite everything I went through, I am embarking upon a new journey. I am thrilled.

I had a nice time in church on Sunday. I was invited to attend a class as part of a Learning Labs series. One of our topics was God’s place in logic and reason. The class is taught by a physicist and expert in Biblical apologetics. It’s refreshing to see someone in medicine take on this approach. I look forward to upcoming classes, because apologetics is an area I would like to learn more about.

I’ve always enjoyed being a part of groups. How about you? Have you joined any groups lately? Tell me about them. I think being in groups can be very healthy. You are welcome to share your thoughts with me in the comments.

I’m grateful for these kinds of opportunities and I welcome them. I love to learn, meet new people, inspire, and be inspired whenever I can!

 

Author 101 University – Los Angeles

I attended Author 101 University last weekend in Los Angeles, California. It was a nice event and I had a lot of fun. My publishers at Morgan James Publishing were there, and it was nice to see them and watch them speak at the event. Rick Frishman puts on and hosts the conference two times a year. He is one of my publishers at Morgan James, and he is also the founder of Media Connect.

A few presenters that I really liked were John Assaraf, Wendy Lipton-Dibner, and Barbara De Angelis. They had some interesting things to say about life and writing. I also got to see my nieces, Megan and Fayth. Both of them live in California, and they came to the hotel to visit. I stayed at The Westin Los Angeles Airport, which was where the event took place.

I enjoyed it. Fayth goes to school in Santa Barbara, and she had a two-hour drive to the hotel. It was nice of her to pick me up from the airport on Friday, and drop me off on Monday morning. I really appreciated that and the time I got to spend with hePic14Sunsetblvdr and Megan.

The event ended at 2pm on Sunday, and then my nieces and I went to Hollywood in the evening. I wanted to do some sight-seeing, since I’d traveled all the way to California from Michigan. I had never been to Hollywood so we went to Hard Rock Café on Hollywood Boulevard for dinner. Then we took a nice drive through West Hollywood at night. I was able to see Sunset Boulevard and Beverly Hills. It was really pretty with the palm trees and lights.

Of course the weather was just perfect there all weekend!

A Holiday Letter

Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” –Oren Arnold

Dear friends,

I have some exciting news to share with all of you. I’m happy to announce that my first book, “Not Without God: A Story of Survival” will be released in the spring/summer of 2014 by Morgan James Publishing, http://publishing.morgan-james.com/.

It chronicles how I dealt with and overcame debilitating injuries that left me paralyzed after my accident. It’s about how I walked again through my faith, hard work, and determination.

How I was able to get through college and earn two degrees. How I became a successful teacher. How I’m independent and able to take care of myself.

It offers hope, insight, and ways to heal not just for people with disabilities but for anyone facing adversity in their life. My prayer is that it inspires anyone dealing with any kind of challenge.

I couldn’t ask for a greater Christmas present!

I would like to thank you, my readers who have supported me on my writing journey since I started this blog in June of 2012. It feels surreal. I can’t wait to hold my published book in my hands!

My life has changed so much these last two years. I’ve been active in writer’s groups both off-line and on-line. The blogging and writing courses I’ve taken have helped me strengthen and develop my craft.

I’ve always enjoyed teaching and I have been an educator for over ten years. I have taught multiple subjects to hundreds of students of all ages, from many different backgrounds and cultures.

But the reason I majored in English was not primarily to teach, it was to write. I feel so blessed now that I’m doing what I’ve always dreamed.

Merry Christmas to all!

My First Writer’s Conference

“We cannot discover new oceans until we have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”–Gide

I attended Author 101 University this past weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada. I really enjoyed it. There were many authors and publishers at the event. It was nice to meet and talk with those who have really supported my writing, and thank them.

The schedule was packed with speakers, and each of them freely shared their knowledge and expertise on writing and marketing. I received a lot of good information. One of my favorite presenters was Cynthia Kersey, http://cynthiakersey.com She talked about her non-profit organization, “The Unstoppable Foundation,” http://unstoppablefoundation.org.

Her mission is to make sure that every child on the planet receives the gift of education. She builds schools in Africa. This is where forty-three percent of all of the children in the world not receiving education, live.

Many of us were exchanging business cards and information, and I made some good connections. I met people who have the same ambitions as mine – to reach others with their message. I became friends with Veronica Brooks http://veronicabrooks.com, who also attended the conference. She writes to empower women and help them succeed by taking care of their finances.

I stayed at the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa, which sits on 54 acres. This is also where the meetings took place. I couldn’t see the entire hotel in one short weekend. With several restaurants, a pool, spa, and casino, to name just a few of the amenities. The hotel was filled with so much beauty; I wanted to stay another week. But I had to come back. Back to reality. Back to my day-to-day life. Back to Michigan.

It was a great experience.

I hope to one day go back there again.

Dear friends on WordPress,

Whether I know you personally or not, at some point you stumbled upon my website or found me for some reason. Thanks for your support! I hope that through my challenge, you’ve seen an example of faith and persistence. And maybe your challenges have seemed a little less–that is my hope.

Thank you for reading my story and my notes. It gives me a reason to write. Writing is a great release.

I’ve explained what has happened in my blogs and I’ve been documenting my story. Since June of 2012, I’ve been writing about my hopes for recovery while at the same time, attempting to reach out to readers like yourselves.

I’ve gotten some positive feedback. One of my favorites was an email I received from a man named Fouad out of Berkeley, California. He stumbled upon my article on Spinalcordinjuryzone.com and said he was moved by it. I want to share some of his email:

He wrote: “Your attitude has strengthened my faith in God and my hope that one day my daughter will walk again. She was in a car accident three years ago, at eighteen years old while on her way to a friend’s house.”

Her situation is similar to mine in that I was also in high school at the time of my accident. Her level is a C6 Spinal Cord Injury.

He continued: “She has been a fighter like you; with her faith in Jesus and her hope, the injury never stopped her from pursuing her goals. She will be graduating from U of C Berkeley. Doctors say it is a complete injury, but we’ve witnessed some indications that it is not.”

I’m posting the link to the article he read below in case you want to read it:

http://www.spinalcordinjuryzone.com/info/11368/a-few-quick-tips-on-how-i-heal

People with spinal-cord injuries are not always given enough hope. Sometimes they are released from physical therapy too early, or they don’t have enough insurance to cover the high costs. I want to tell people they don’t have to give up on hope for recovery, that is why Fouad’s email is touching for me.

If you could offer any ideas or suggestions, maybe links or resources where I could write more on this topic please let me know. I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you for your support!

P.S. I met with my new rehab. doctor today who is very hopeful about me learning how to walk with only one cane. I’m starting PT two times a week in his new facility this week and I’m excited about it. Will keep you posted on further updates!

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 11,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 18 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

How it has helped me to write

Have you ever had a hobby? Anything you’ve always liked to do? Maybe you didn’t love doing it, but you were somehow drawn to it? For me it has been to write. Walking was the hard part. Writing about it is easier. I’ve always written. I wrote when I was in the second grade. I’ll never forget winning my first story contest in elementary school. I won a few. My teacher was so proud; she designed a nice booklet for me comprised of all my stories made out of colorful construction paper. I’ll never forget it. It was such an accomplishment.

The first loss I ever experienced was losing that book. When I couldn’t find it, I remember searching the basement tirelessly for a couple of hours. My mom could’ve misplaced it, but it was my first heartbreak. I was so sad.

At sixteen in the hospital I wrote, after my accident. Hooked up to machines with a breathing tube stuck down my throat, the first few weeks I had to write. It was the only way to communicate, I couldn’t talk. I still have all my notes of black marker scribbles on white and yellow cut outs from hospital flyer sheets. They are saved in my closet, in a big bag with every word on every card that every person ever wrote to me. They are treasures.

In the Rehab. floor after the ICU I wrote. I wrote letters to God each night. I poured out the sorrows, hopes, and dreams of my heart in what was the most difficult time in my life.

I wrote through college, successes, heartbreaks, frustrations or accomplishments. I kept thick journals writing each night, or when I felt the urge. I jotted down my emotions and thoughts. The reason I majored in English was not to teach, it was to write. Finally, I’m trying to achieve my heart’s dream. I can’t help but feel fear. But C.S. Lewis said, “Failures are the finger posts on the road to achievement.” I need to remember that.

I wrote as a child. I wrote as a teen. I wrote in college. I’m writing as an adult. Writing is a great release. “Writing has helped me heal. Writing has changed my life.” – Louise Desalvo I couldn’t agree more, I believe writing in some way can help save our lives.

Tomorrow morning I’m giving my first on line presentation to other teachers for Global LT, the company I work for. I would appreciate your prayers and thoughts. I remind myself it’s no different from teaching a classroom, but I can’t help but feel a little nervous. My topic is “How to Include Writing in Your Lessons,” of course. It just seems appropriate : ) It’s time to share what I’ve learned, in the classroom and outside.

How about you? Do you have any hobbies you like? Anything you ever feel compelled to do? Feel free to share in the notes.