Friday, June 29, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play. 
– Henri Matisse
Thursday, June 28, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Meet Shelaine Strom

The Write Way Cafe welcomes Shelaine Strom, who embraced the process of writing as a valuable discipline for self-actualization.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book?
     It had never occurred to me to write a book. That was what my husband did, not me. And then I found myself in a pain-induced time away from work, volunteer activities, and many social relationships. I knew that if I didn’t find something solitary to do at home, I would go stir crazy. I audited a creative non-fiction writing course and began capturing stories from my previous work as a career and life instructor and coach. This led to the publication of my first book, Changing Course: Stories to Navigate Career and Life Transitions. The completion and reception of that book motivated me to write But Pain Crept In, a personal memoir and very different book than the first.

What was your path to getting But Pain Crept In written and published?
      Throughout my life I have journaled as a means of processing life and the season of being off work intensified this activity. At the encouragement of those close to me, I combed through these writings and saw content I felt might encourage others going through times of pain, be it physical, emotional, relational. At the encouragement of my agent, I self-published my first book, and found that to be a positive experience so I opted to do the same for But Pain Crept In.
     Practically speaking, once the manuscript was completed, I asked about ten different people to critically read and edit, including a writing instructor, university professor, doctor, English teacher, grammar specialist and others. I wanted perspectives and input from a variety of individuals to see how the story resonated – or didn’t. The compilation of feedback and ensuing changes were arduous (and not my favorite!) but worth the effort.
     I hired a professional graphic designer to create the cover and do the interior layout. She also assisted in solidifying the title and subtitle of the book.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
     The story, being a memoir, came from my life experience and chronicles my pre-pain life as well as the circuitous journey to find answers and relief. The bones in my jaw were disintegrating from a childhood injury and resulting surgery, causing excruciating pain and rendering me unable to speak much, laugh freely, and engage in basic daily activities. I found comfort in stories of other people’s journey through suffering and hoped my story might encourage someone else.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them?
     The most significant challenge came as I recognized I was choosing to make some of my most private wrestling completely public. I believed God was calling me to share authentically to remind others in painful circumstances that they are not alone. However, to do so meant exposing my inner world and involved – and honestly, still involves – intentionally choosing to focus on the value to readers rather than on my own feelings of vulnerability. It still catches me off guard at times when a stranger jumps into a discussion about a deeply emotional part of my story. And, it’s often those raw experiences that move and touch readers. That makes the vulnerability worthwhile.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
     It surprises me how different aspects of the book are speaking powerfully to different readers. For example, one woman wrote to share how my humor resonates with her. Others have identified with emotional processing even though their pain has not been physical. And some comment on a particular story as being moving in a way I never dreamt would be.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about pain, hope, and purpose?
     The whole book is about pain, hope, and purpose so living the experience and writing the book are intimately intertwined. My story is one of living a full, active, engaged life and being jettisoned into an extended “set on the shelf” period. Identity and purpose had to be redefined. Coming to terms with being instead of doing characterized this time. Learning to trust that God is bigger than my circumstances, expectations, or desires grew, in part, through the writing process. Thoughts and feelings out of my head and onto the screen helped me navigate this unsettling period.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
     I have a writing table set up in our front living space that looks out a window into our back yard. We are empty nesters now so when my husband went off to work, the house was quiet. I found that working in my study felt too much like a mirror of my life of being tucked away from the world. Even though there was no one else home, writing by the window helped me feel connected beyond our walls. And, I love nature so seeing flowers and trees and squirrels inspired me.
     I continue to have the table in this location even though I am no longer house-bound. It’s just where I write.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
     Being Well When We’re Ill by Marva Dawn changed my life. She is a theologian who has endured intense physical suffering and has learned to change her questions. Her writing inspired me to see the dark pit asking “why” can lead to and begin asking God where He is the midst, and how I might view my situation differently. For example, instead of asking, “Why did those medical papers get lost?” I might consider, “God, are you protecting me from something I can’t see through this delay?”
     Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend would be a close second. This material has helped me understand how to take ownership of my own life, a particularly critical insight when dealing with chronic pain. I had to advocate for myself, including letting those close to me know what I needed. Growing in healthy boundaries freed me from blame and resentment and assisted me in accepting the circumstances of my life.
     I also appreciate the work of Brené Brown and have found several of her books meaningful.

What are you working on now?
     I am presently writing a weekly (well, almost weekly) blog. I do not have another book project in the works at the moment but believe there is at least one more book in me. I also do some writing in my job.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre? Which one and why?
     My husband (who has also written two books) and I are talking about co-authoring a humorous book on relationships. It would also be in the non-fiction genre but feels like an exciting challenge to work together on a writing project.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
     Well, I have a dream job actually. I am the Manager of Education and Professional Development for Food for the Hungry Canada. I get to help Canadians increase their understanding of the root issues of poverty and what healthy poverty alleviation looks like. In addition to facilitating workshops, speaking publicly, and training others to do the same, I have opportunity to write curriculum and articles for FH. I am blessed to be in a position with variety, which I thrive on.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
     Honestly, it’s getting my butt into the chair. Once I sit down and enter into the writing zone, I love it. Since I’ve gone back to work I have largely lost my morning routine of breakfast and then getting right to writing. I find that without the consistency of that schedule - the time that is dedicated and protected for writing – other things crowd it out. I’ve also come to realize that writing is actually a spiritual discipline for me. It slows me down to a more contemplative pace and quiets my soul and active mind. Being unemployed allowed for five or six mornings a week of solitary creating. Now I’m satisfied if I can do so once or twice a week. I’m simply in a different season with competing priorities. Not bad, just different.

What or who has been instrumental in or to your writing journey?
     My husband, Bill, is my biggest fan and cheerleader. We spent many a Saturday morning sitting by the fire engaged in what we’ve come to call “mutual edit-fication” sessions, where the week’s writing met the red pen. He is a gracious, honest, and skilled editor who believed I could publish long before I embraced that goal. There would be no books by me were it not for him.

     Loranne Brown, the professor who taught the writing course I audited, was also instrumental in me owning an author identity. She challenged me to shift from spoken storytelling, which I grieved having to let go of, to written tales. She also encouraged me to attend the writing conference where I met my agent and more fully owned my writing skills.

We expect life to follow a patterned path with rises and dips along the way. Growing up, high school, starting on our own. Maybe we will meet someone, find meaningful work, raise a family, settle into comfortable community with close friends. We don’t expect career-ending pain. Identity-altering surgery. Faith testing disruption. In But Pain Crept In, Shelaine Strom shares her sojourn from vibrant vistas to deep valleys as jaw joints crumble and bones splinter. Where does one rest, breathe, revive when pain reigns? When does one quit, wait, try to go on? How does one lean on family, friends, even strangers to endure? And where is God in the midst? In her winsome and honest way, Shelaine tells of travelling between hurt and hope, from agony to plains of purpose renewed. Through tears and humor, her storytelling signals gratitude and grace, and no simple answers to the problem of pain.

Amazon             Amazon Canada

Shelaine Strom resides in Abbotsford, BC where she and her husband, Bill, raised their three sons. She works part time as Manager of Education for Food for the Hungry and writes weekly on her blog, In the Midst. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018 | By: Lynn

Summer is on the Reading List

It's official! The summer solstice on June 21 marked the first day of summer in the U.S. Of course, the season of summer begins at other times for different parts of the world. It's interesting to learn all about it on EarthSky News. Regardless when summer arrives, it's time to bring on the sunshine, lemonade, carefree days, and summer reads!

Have you thought about your plans for summer reading? Books don't have be set in summer, but books with a summer theme are fun. You can find a whole list of them on Goodreads' Listopia. NPR's Nancy Pearl lists seven books she recommends reading this summer. Find her with blurbs here at NPR. And NY Magazine offers suggestions from nine editors.  Another source for books for summer is the large pool of books featured on this blog. Search this blog for "Tuesday Special" and find a wide variety of books worth checking out this summer.

HiDee is a happily voracious reader and has plans for her summer reading.

"I'm currently reading the Sullivan's Sons series set on Anna Maria Island by Ellie Arden, Kristina Knight and Katie Kenyhercz. After that, I've got a Kat Martin suspense book waiting!" she said.

I just finished reading my first summer read, and it left me sobbing. The book, titled The Mother's Promise by Sally Hepworth, was not a light-hearted read, but it was a very good read. In the book, three women's lives cross because one of them is diagnosed with cancer and her teenage daughter suffers from social anxiety to the max. She cannot die. She can't leave her daughter alone. It explores several issues relevant to women and the importance of supportive people in all of our lives.

Up next for me will be a book that is a breezier paranormal, Driven by Kelley Armstrong. Don't get me wrong, it's going to have plenty of action and tension of the scary, shifter kind. But it probably won't lead to tears. I know I'll thoroughly enjoy it.

When the heat gets really bad, like now in some places, take a cool break and please consider reading Captured by Christmas, an anthology authored by HiDee writing as Lainee Cole and me. Here's a blurb:

It’s Christmas, and the season of holly, Christmas trees, and goodwill is drifting on air in merry holiday wishes. Romantic suspense and paranormal author Lynn Crandall and contemporary author Lainee Cole present in their own way two stories of love in Captured by Christmas. However it finds you—under a Christmas tree or drifted in snow in a backwoods cabin—the spirit of the season will wrap you in love.

In Snowbound, Lynn Crandall lets readers check in on favorite Fierce Hearts series were-lynx characters Kennedy Mitchell and Asher Monroe as they uncover the identity of the creature scaring the humans in Octavia, a small rural community in northern Michigan. Plans for an intimate getaway and family-style holiday are crumbling as the snow piles higher and Kennedy and Asher find themselves snowbound with a killer outside their door.

In The Mistletoe Effect, Christmas is second-grade teacher Tess McCall’s least favorite holiday, but she’s doing her best not to let it show. Learning he’s a father to seven-year-old Holly makes Alex Randle anxious about the upcoming holidays. When Tess’s class starts reading to shelter dogs, Holly and the antics of shelter dog Mistletoe lead them all to rediscover the magic of Christmas.

You can find Captured by Christmas on Amazon and other retailers.

If you read a book you enjoy, consider writing a review. Authors really appreciate it.

What books are on your summer reading list?

Friday, June 22, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up. 
– Robert Frost
Thursday, June 21, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Building a Series, One Idea at a Time by Paty Jager

The Write Way Cafe welcomes Paty Jager, who shares her strategy for writing series.

There is a process that goes on in my head when an idea strikes. My Tumbling Creek Ranch series was just such a spark of inspiration.

I was asked to write a novella for a box set. I did and enjoyed being part of a box set with contemporary western themed stories. When they asked if I wanted to be in another box set, a light bulb went off. These box sets were only up for 6 months. Then the story reverted back to me. Why not write a series and get more bang for my time spent on the stories?

And that is when I came up with the idea of a family cattle ranch turned Dude Ranch. I’m not sure why I set the Tumbling Creek Ranch series in Montana other than I’d been reading my Cowboys and Indians magazine and saw several Dude Ranches in Montana advertised in the magazine.

Then I had to populate the series with a family and decide how many books I would put out in the series. The first book, 8 Seconds to Love was a story that had been spinning in my mind for a while. A good friend’s daughter rode bulls in high school rodeo. I found it fascinating that a woman would want to do that. My character Lacey Wallis came to life. I interviewed the daughter on why she’d ridden bulls, using that and some videos of other female bull riders being interviewed, and I had my character. I gave her caring parents who had once owned the Tumbling Creek Ranch with her aunt and uncle. They sold out to her oldest cousin, who had made the ranch into the Dude Ranch. He also happens to be the best friend of hero, Jared McIntyre, in 8 Seconds to Love. He is a male nurse who had been a medic in the Army.

I gave Lacey a younger brother and her cousin, Brett Wallis, two brothers. In the first book, I introduced Jared’s single brother who will also find romance in a novella. That will make 6 novellas in the Tumbling Creek Ranch series. A good round number, and I can make 2 box sets of 3 from the 6 novellas.

After I came up with the siblings and wrote up some background on each one, I made up a small town and put it in an area of Montana that looked like a good place, on Google Maps, to give the ranch all the qualities I wanted. Good grazing, trails up a mountain, and small falls and creeks.

Using the photos I saw in the magazine, I set out to describe and draw the layout of the main house/lodge and cabins along with the barns, bunkhouse, and other outbuildings.

I put all of this in a notebook and started a timeline to keep track of what people are doing in each book and how their lives move forward.

This is a process I do for all of my series, whether they are western or mystery. When I work on a series, I pull the notebook off the shelf and begin sketching in the new characters and what will happen to the character who is already established in the series. If it’s a romance, I fill out a conflict chart. If it’s a mystery, I fill out a suspect chart.

It has taken me years to figure out the system that works best for me, and this seems to be it. I can’t use all the fancy software that is available to make things easier. I like having all the information in a notebook beside my computer as I write.

Here is book one in the series:

8 Seconds to Love
Book one of the Tumbling Creek Ranch series
Lacey Wallis has put blood, sweat, and tears into her dream of making it to the National Finals Rodeo and isn’t about to let an injury stop her. However, she didn’t expect the ER nurse to be the man she had a crush on years ago, or to discover that crush hadn’t been one-sided.

Jared McIntyre lived through loving and the death of one thrill-seeking woman and wasn’t about to let that happen again. Especially, not to Lacey. But that would mean he’d have to allow himself to love again.

Which will it be, a life-long dream, or the love of a lifetime?

Universal link:
Available in July

Love Me Anyway
Book two of the Tumbling Creek Ranch Series 
Melanie Trask ran away from an abusive husband and is hiding at a remote dude ranch. When she and the ranch owner can no longer deny their feelings, he offers to help her divorce her husband. But she has one more secret she hasn’t revealed…

Brett Wallis has fallen hard for the quiet, competent woman who landed at his ranch when he needed help. But will he be able to choose between Melanie or the ranch when he discovers the truth behind her secrecy?

Preorder universal link:

Now available in a box set!

The Wrong Cowboy to Love
Book three in the Tumbling Creek Ranch Series
Computer geek Ruby Cutter feels like a fish out of water with a makeover her cousin put her through for the bachelorette party and wedding. The only reason she went along with it…her high school crush will be at the wedding. She’d fantasized for years over him and plans to make him see her.

Dillon Wallis is minding his own business getting ready for a gig at a bar when a tipsy, blonde who is with a bachelorette party and doesn’t realize she’s gorgeous, tumbles into his arms and captures his heart.

The only problem…she’s in love with his cousin.

Box Set
Do You Take This Cowboy?

For Better… For Worse… 
In Sickness and health…

Falling for a cowboy is easy, but when weddings happen on the ranch, anything can happen and often does! Roping, Fireworks and Magic…Enjoy seven wonderful tales of love and marriage by some best-selling and award-winning Western Contemporary Romance authors.

Available in Kindle Unlimited

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 34 novels, a dozen novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery and western romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters.

This is what Romance Junkies has to say about the Tumbling Creek Ranch series: “There are twists and turns to the story with a nice flow and a depth to the characters. The vivid scenic descriptions made me feel like I was there… I hope to return to Tumbling Creek Ranch over and over again.”

Blog / WebsiteFacebook / Paty's Posse / Goodreads / Twitter / Pinterest / Bookbub


Tuesday, June 19, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: The Ghost in the Gardens with HL Carpenter

HL Carpenter

Until the first spooky visit, ten year old Chrysantha Howe doesn't think about ghosts. She thinks about plants.
by HL Carpenter 
All. The. Time.

She has her future planned out, and that future includes plants. Chrys is going to be a plant scientist like her uncle and her favorite teacher, and she's determined to find the very rare Coralroot orchid.

The ghost is not in the plan.

But when her teacher disappears and the police suspect her uncle was involved, Chrys has to figure out what the ghost is trying to tell her—before it's too late.

Pre-order links:

Amazon     Mirror World (ebook)    Mirror World (paperback print)

Mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter write family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, they enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happening in Carpenter Country.

HL Carpenter Stay connected on 
Twitter and 
their Amazon Author Page.

Friday, June 15, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Keep knocking, and the joy inside will eventually open a window and look out to see who’s there. 
– Rumi
Thursday, June 14, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Meet Lynn Hammond

The Write Way Café welcomes Lynn Hammond, who uses real-life experiences in her writing and makes the world a better place.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? 
Actually, I was around 16 years old when I would just make believe to be married with children and be rich. I wish I kept the notebook I wrote my story tale in but being a teenager and moving out I just threw it away. I didn’t decide to write again until my father was killed leaving my house May, 1, 2013. That day my world changed forever. Not only did I lose my father I found two years later my real father who I didn’t know about died a month after. He told my siblings that they had a sister and to find me. After finding out all this I decide I’m going to follow my passion and write. Writing gives me peace and lets my mind wonder away.

What was your path to getting Chaplain: Sacrifice for Love written and published? What type of research did you do? 
I looked up what Chaplains do in the military, I talked to some preachers, I looked up military bases in Alaska. My mother-in-law read the manuscript and demanded more. So now I turned it into a series. I’m hoping to get Chaplain series into bookstores.

Where did the idea for Chaplain: Sacrifice for Love come from? 
Well actually a friend of mine told me about a girl who was abused by a military guy and what he did to her. I was just blown away about the story so I made up my own story and added a fairy tale.

Why did you pick the setting you did? 
I love Alaska. I took a cruise there and loved the atmosphere. When I describe the scenery I had help from a friend who lived there and hiked up the mountains.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself? 
All my characters share a little of my life and things I have seen or known to happen. I like to use names of people I went to school with or just know. I think its too much work to search for names.

Did you face any blocks while writing Chaplain: Sacrifice for Love, and if so, how did you handle them? 
I did. In the beginning of the book there are triggers for those who may have witnessed this or had it happen to them, but I thought about it and decided I wanted to tell the whole story. I wanted to put a love scene at the end of the book but with what my character went through I wanted her to feel safe and loved.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after? 
I became really attached to my characters. If I was working, cooking, or cleaning and something came to mind, I would have to rush to my computer and write it down. I loved how my characters in this book kept me on my toes. I wanted more and more for my characters.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about chaplains, and overcoming abuse? 
I learned that I would not do good as a cop. I would let my emotions take over when doing my job. Chaplains have a wide variety of things they can do. Chaplains are there to help any way they can even if they have to pick up a gun in the military. Reading testimonies about Chaplains I learned they have a lot on their plate. I respect what they do because soldiers witness a lot of things and a Chaplain is there to help them through the horror. I was in a relationship in which my boyfriend had anger issues. He threw the coffee table at me one day during an argument. I told him it was over and went to leave. He tried to block me but I got out. He stood behind my car, telling me I was not going anywhere. My father always told me never let a man lay a hand on you. He said there is always fight back. Well I got in the car and cranked it up but he still stood there. So, I did the one thing I could do and that was to put it in reverse and hit the gas. Let’s say I didn’t hurt him too badly but he limped for a while. I don’t understand why there has to be violence. Just sit down and talk about it.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you. 
I sit beside my fireplace in my love seat. I can smell the burnt ashes once in a while. My kids sit across from me watching TV. I like to be in a room with them.

What are some of your favorite books and why? 
I love the Eden Series by Lexi Post. I don’t do much paranormal reading but when she started the series she asked me to try it out. I was hooked. I read it in one day. I love how my mind shuts off and I’m in the characters world.

What are you working on now?
I have two books I’m working on. I have book three of Chaplain series and a Billionare love romance story.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre? Which one and why? 
I thought about Paranormal. I love the different worlds the characters live in.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be? 
I love my job as a nurse. I get to meet new people every day. When my patients leave the office, I make sure to tell them bye and if they need anything they can call and ask for me. Life is already rushed and I feel when they come they just need a little tender care.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble? 
Putting more emotions to my characters. I like short novellas. Some of my readers ask for more.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine? 
I wrote a book Bloom. She has PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). She is being raised by a father who doesn't understand her illness. He tells her she's ugly and fat. All the hateful words put her into a shell until she finds out she has a brother. He is her savior. She learns to take up for herself, she meets friends, and she gets the proper treatment she needs to get better.

Author Note: I must warn the readers that this book contains some very difficult subjects that may be difficult for some to read. For example, rape, PTSD, anxiety attacks, abortions, self-mutilations, child out of rape, etc.

by Lynn Hammond
A religious man. A scarred woman. Both have their faith tested.
When Chaplain Linkin Garland, receives a phone call to help a woman who was raped, beaten, and stabbed, he can’t help but say “yes.” There is something about her that draws him in. There is a spiritual connection but also a chemistry that he can’t explain.
Words that sum up Sophia Rhinehart’s life.
Having survived a horrific abuse from her military boyfriend who she thought loved her more than life, she needs to learn to live again.
With each passing day the nightmares get worse. Sophia wants help but refuses to let anyone in. Until Chaplain Linkin shows up “at her mother’s home.”
Slowly, Linkin gets her to trust him, but will his secret destroy her frail progress?
In the end, will their journey connect them both spiritually or will it destroy them both?

Amazon Kindle      iTunes        Nook Book       Kobo

Lynn Hammond works full-time as an LPN but writes at night. She lives in Rock Hill, South Carolina. She is an RWA member. She loves to make children’s tutu in her spare time. Every night before bed she takes time to read. She loves romance, paranormal romance, and erotica. She is a proud mother of three beautiful girls, two beautiful grandbabies, two boxer pups, two lizards, four ducks, and loves spending time with her husband riding in her father’s old corvette. She is a new author writing New Adult romance and would love to hear from readers. You can contact her at To find out more, please visit her facebook page or

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 | By: HiDee

Avoiding Negativity Bias

My day job requires a 40 minute commute (one way). I enjoy singing along with the radio and hearing the radio hosts banter with each other. Last week I was traveling earlier than usual due to an event at the office. My local station was hosting Life Coach Gina, and I quickly found myself caught up by what she was sharing.

Gina told the story of her friend, a woman who travels a lot for her job, who had just undergone a review. Her boss had complimented her on all that she had accomplished and rewarded her with a $30,000 performance bonus! $30,000!!!! But on the heels of the bonus, the boss shared three items he wanted her to improve upon over the next six months. At the end of the review, instead of feeling joy and success at all that she had accomplished, Gina’s friend was focused on what she needed to improve. So much so that when she talked with her husband later that day, she was so focused on the negative thoughts that she completely forgot to share the good news of her $30,000 bonus!

Gina referred to this as negativity bias. I’d never heard that term before, so I looked it up. It can be defined as:
  • Negative experiences that tend to exert greater psychological impact on us than positive experiences of the same magnitude.1
  • Our tendency to focus more on the negatives than the positives - in ourselves, in others (particularly our parents!), in our circumstances; in the past, in the present and when forecasting the future.2
Bottom line: it’s when we latch on to bad or negative thoughts or feelings, and ignore the good or neutral ones.

In the writing world, there are a lot of good things happening: authors encouraging other authors, and readers and fans who share their love of our books with us. But there are also bad things: lack of interactions with others while we are writing, the physical toll writing takes on our bodies, and mistakes we make in our writing to name a few. Professional jealousy and editor/agent/publisher turnovers also color our world. 

It often seems that the bad things outweigh the good, and that's when we find ourselves in a downward spiral. I think writers are particularly susceptible to criticism. Even constructive criticism can be painful; we often internalize it to mean that we are not good enough. We put ourselves down. I know I’ve done it. Once you start down that path, it's really hard to climb out of the hole and stand confidently at the top again

Gina talked about the tendency to focus on negatives, citing our ancestors as sources. Our ancestors looked for negatives. They needed to be aware of threats in order to avoid problems and protect themselves. It was a survival instinct. Although the world is a different place now, our ability to handle life is constantly changing based on our own personal growth and experiences.

As she concluded her story, Gina offered some suggestions for avoiding the negatives and turning them into positives.
  1. Identify when we are feeling negatively.
  2. Be aware – of the negativity itself and how it is affecting us.
  3. Remember that the problem is not the negative thoughts. The problem is our relationship to the thoughts and what we do with them. How do we relate to the thoughts? Do we let them drag us down? Or are we being curious about why we are reacting and how we are handling the negativity and exploring those thoughts?
While we can't control those around us, we can control how we react. So next time you feel surrounded by negativity, try following Life Coach Gina's suggestions. Take charge for yourself. Be curious. Take the opportunity to learn and to change your reaction, even if you are being dragged along, kicking and screaming, by the negativity surrounding you.

Do you have other suggestions for dealing with negativity? Please share!

For more information,Gina's podcast can be found here: 

HiDee Ekstrom never goes anywhere without a book or a pen and paper. Reading, writing, and chocolate are important elements of her daily life that inspire her to write. She also finds inspiration in and enjoys photography, scrapbooking, camping, hiking, and spending time with her family. Writing as Lainee Cole, two of her short-stories have been self-published in anthologies: Captured by Christmas and At Midnight. Follow Lainee at Facebook Author Page, Facebook Author Profile Page, and on Twitter.