never give up

A winner is just a loser who tried one more time

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success-620300_1280A winner is just a loser who tried one more time.

I am positive proof of that statement.

Confession time for me: after four years of pounding the pavement/internet trying to get my books published, I seriously considered walking away. I’m not proud of that revelation, but I think after awhile, the prolonged efforts in which many of us are involved start to lose their shine, don’t they? They feel cumbersome in their fruitlessness.

Until they bear fruit.

That is the simple lesson here: nothing comes easily. Nothing. There is no such thing as overnight success or instant stardom. The instances of such anomalies are so few, they’re barely a blip on the timeline of creation.

If you want to accomplish something as much as I did – for me it was becoming a published author – you must continue on that quest. Speaking personally, if I had given up on my goal of publishing a novel inspired by my experiences as my father’s Alzheimer’s caregiver, all the research, writing, and re-writing I did might have been considered a waste of time. It was a valuable and cathartic writing experience, to be sure, but its outcome – a published novel – would have never been realized.

What a shame.

My first novel, REQUIEM FOR THE STATUS QUO, was published on July 20th, 2017 and guess what? At the time, this first time published author was sixty-four years of age. Is my novel a resounding financial success? Not necessarily, but I did attain success which for me meant putting onto paper that which reflected my caregiving experiences so others might be encouraged and enlightened as a result. Family caregiving is difficult, so I figured if my novel could lessen even a few caregivers’ burdens, I will have accomplished much.

What does success mean to you? Whatever it might entail, don’t give up. I guarantee you’ll be glad you didn’t.

Do we have the power to influence the lives of children?

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Yes we do.

That influence can be good or it can be bad so it’s important to pay attention to what we’re saying with our words, and with our actions.

Mary painting at homeMy sister, Mary Riesche of Mary Riesche Studios, inspired this blog post.

For several weeks this summer, Mary taught an art class at The Leaven summer fun program in the town of Vacaville, California where she resides. As is often the case when parents sign their kids up for activities, not every child is enthusiastic about being forced to have fun with others.

That was the case for one of Mary’s students in her weekly classes. A thirteen year old boy – at least five years older than the rest of the students – couldn’t have cared less that my sister volunteered her time to pass along her passion for painting to the young participants. His weekly modus operandi was to quickly, and haphazardly, make whatever project my sister put before him, followed by him then crossing his arms in front of him while the rest of the children worked painstakingly to create what Mrs. Riesche had taught them to create.

During one particular class, the thirteen year old said that he didn’t like what he had done; that he needed to erase it or better yet, give up on the project. My sister stepped in and said the following to him, and I paraphrase:

Never give up, just keep going. You never know when what you consider to be a mistake may eventually turn into something remarkable.

As the very last art class of The Leaven’s artistic summer fun session came to a close a couple weeks ago, the Director queried the children, “What did you learn from your time in Mrs. Riesche’s art classes this summer?”

What happened next caught my sister totally off guard. The thirteen year old boy raised his hand, and said, “That I should never give up. That I should keep going regardless of how I feel about something.”

And there, my friends, is influence in action.

I told Mary I was certain this young boy would carry that lesson on tenacity with him into high school, college, and beyond. Perhaps he won’t remember the art teacher who made that lasting impression on him – I’d like to think that he will – but he will most certainly remember the sage advice my sister bestowed on him the summer of 2016.

Congratulations, Mary Riesche. You changed a child’s life forever.