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Sheri Lewis Wohl

Vampires and Werewolves and Ghosts, Oh My!

I chose the light

It’s been a year of practicing gratitude and for the most part, that’s gone pretty well. It is a great way to see things around you in a different light. Even so, there are moments when gratitude goes right out the window. Where your faith in those around you is shattered. When all you want to do is scream.

For days now I’ve struggled for I put my trust in some I truly believed would do the right thing. They didn’t. The shock and disbelief was staggering. The anger intense. The hurt deep. So what to do? How to move past betrayal, the game of smoke and mirrors?

For me, it was a case of allowing myself the time to just simply feel bad. Pretending that all was right with my world doesn’t help anyone. Emotions need to be felt, both good and bad. Slowly, the intensity started to fade and I could hold onto those things that I am still so incredibly grateful for. Slowly, I took back control of the direction of my own life. The actions of others affected me but they did not derail me. Someone once said that by putting your trust in a person (or in this case persons) one of two things happen: 1-you make a friend for life, or 2-you gain a life lesson. By now I’m sure you realize I learned a life lesson.

Today, I chose light. I’m no longer angry or enraged or insulted. I will rise above. I will take the high road. I will shine brighter than ever and those who failed me will become a distant memory. I will be grateful that for this moment of deep despair there are a hundred moments of joy.

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Seeing the world in a different way

IMG_1471.JPGYesterday I went for a run. It was a beautiful day and I just had to get outside. As I ran my mind cleared and my soul refreshed. Running does that for me especially in the middle of the day. I still work the day job and often I just need to walk away for an hour or so and it makes all the difference in the world.

Speaking of the world, that’s what struck me yesterday as I was heading back to the office huffing and puffing as I slowly ran up a very large hill. Even as I trot a familiar path  that goes along the Spokane River, I see what I expect to see…most of the time. Yesterday out of the corner of my eye I saw something that made me pause. Was it a man? Was it a monster??  What was I seeing?

I laughed out loud as I turned to see what it was that caught my eye.  It wasn’t a man or a monster or anything remotely dangerous. It was in fact two shrubs and a tree! But look for yourself and see what you think. Is it just nature?  Or is the world giving us a glimpse of something else?

It made me smile and it made the rest of my day. The run always makes me feel good but yesterday seeing the world in a little bit different way made me feel great. May imagination and fantasy fill your soul with wonderful things.

 

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Silver Linings

pullmanI was born in snow country and at five years old moved sixteen hundred miles away to yes, you guessed, more snow country where I still live. At this point in my life I’ll come right out and say it: I’M SICK OF SNOW!

It’s been a particularly brutal winter and each day when I get up and look out the window, I want to scream. What I want to see is not the endless shine of white but green grass and sunshine. I want to walk out the door and feel a warm breeze on my skin not the sting of near zero temps.

My frustration reached new heights when my search dog, Zoey, had to go to Washington State University for back surgery on the 1st of February. In Northeast Washington that is prime snow season and the highway into Pullman horrible. The drive down was slow and then when she had to stay, the drive back, grim. Four days later, she was doing so well, they were releasing her early. I woke up to…yes, you guessed it…another snow storm. My stomach was in knots thinking about the treacherous drive I was facing. But what choice did I have? I had to go get my girl.

With a deep breath and a four-wheel drive, I hit the road, praying I didn’t slide into a ditch, or worse. The universe was awesome that day, as if karma was paying me back for those times when I was kind and thoughtful. The snow stopped, the roads cleared, and the sun began to shine. As I made it to Pullman and back safely, I thought about silver linings. About how sometimes when it seems the darkest just beyond a light shines. About how sometimes what we hate the most might just be beautiful.

I choose hope

field2016 was a tough year for me. Granted there were some high notes such as the Golden Crown Literary Award for Twisted Whispers. Even with those high notes, there were many moments of deep despair and times when I really wanted to throw in the towel. For instance, the results of our presidential election filled me with despair, fear, and dismay. But even that paled when I received a crippling diagnosis for my German Shepherd, Zoey. That late year call kicked me in the knees like nothing else.

You have to understand the relationship I have with this dog. She is four years old and for almost all of that four years we have worked side by side training to become a certified human remains detection team. Achieving that goal was one of the best and most rewarding things ever and we did it together. Zoey is a fantastic dog. So to hear that her career could potentially be over pulled the rug right out from under my feet and depression washed over me like a tsunami.

I hate that feeling. I hate feeling helpless. I hate that my dog is in pain. I just want to cry, stomp my feet, and quit. To pull the blanket over my head and hide.

But I didn’t and why? Because I choose hope. I refuse to allow 2016 to dictate my new year. I’m not going to let bad news dictate tomorrow. We’re not done. My dog is not done. We will work through this crisis and we will do it together. Zoey and I will find a path that we can travel together. It may not be the path we thought we were traveling but it will be ours.

I choose hope.

Never Giving Up

lionI love this picture because the lion always makes me feel so powerful. I snapped it when I was wandering around the National Zoo in Washington DC a few years ago. I’d like to take credit for the words of wisdom attached:

“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.”

They belong to Mary Ann Radmacher and they are incredibly powerful. I remember them again and again when I get discouraged.

It’s hard to be a writer, an actor, or an athlete. It’s heart wrenching and yet I reach for success in each area over and over.

Rejection is the name of the game in both writing and acting. Again and again and again you face rejection and somehow you have to find that courage in your heart and soul that gets you up and trying again. And again. And again. You find the tiny bits of encouragement in kind rejection letters and the words of casting directors who give you a shot. It takes courage to get up each day and try. It takes courage to keep the faith. It is in that quiet voice that tells you to try again tomorrow.

Then there’s the athlete side of it. If you’re like me, natural athleticism isn’t even a whisper in your ear. I’m not fast, I’m not a natural, and I’m not a podium finisher. It is here that it’s truly the power of that quiet voice telling me to try again tomorrow that keeps me going. It is courage that lets me stand with those who run like the wind, swim like a tsunami, and cycle as those powered by the wind. It’s courage that lets me smile when I cross a finish line even if nearly everyone else has already done so. I became a triathlete because I refused to give up and every single time I look at that very first medal I still feel a rush of emotion that only those who’ve had to work through the daunting odds can truly understand.

So when I look at the lion roaring I embrace the message so eloquently expressed by Radmacher and I find courage, and you know what? It’s all worth it.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to each and every one of you. May you too find the courage to follow your dreams.

Gratitude

twisted-whispersThe last month has been a tough one for me. I’m sad. I’m frightened. I’m disillusioned. It’s easy to want to just say “screw it.” Yet I know in my heart that’s not the way to handle anything. I’ve tried quitting and it felt good for about two minutes. After that, well I just felt like a quitter! So I don’t plan on quitting now. If I don’t like the way things are going I have two choices: quit or work to change it myself. I’m choosing the latter.

In the spirit of change, I decided that I need to embrace gratitude. Each month I need to publicly speak to at least one thing I’m grateful for. Today I want to talk about the unexpected blessings I’m grateful for. In July I won a Golden Crown Literary Award in the paranormal/horror category for my novel, Twisted Whispers. Yes, it was nominated and yes, it made it as a finalist. I was thrilled at that point because you see, I’m not the award-winning kind of person and thus I was thanking my lucky stars that my book made it as a finalist. It was a great moment for me. As I was heading to Canada, I was unable to attend the conference this year and be part of the awards ceremony. No big deal, I thought, because I won’t win. Imagine my shock when I got a text from my friend (and my editor’s wife) that Twisted Whispers had won! It was a moment I will always remember.

Today, I am grateful for wonderful surprises that give validation to a lifetime of writing and trying to improve my craft. I am grateful for the wonderful people who are by my side in that journey: my family, my editor, my friends. I am grateful for the readers who share my world and the stories I find myself compelled to write. I am grateful for all the people who make this journey rich and fulfilling.

Feel the Fire

Ever feel like you just needed some time away? Yeah, that’s the way I’ve felt for some time and so I opted for quiet. Lately, I don’t feel like being quiet anymore. Recent events have built a fire beneath my you-know-what and it’s time to return. Thus, here I am!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not back to complain or bemoan the state of current events. Nope, not what I want to do at all. Rather than whine, I want to reach for the stars. Life is so darned short and we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, or if we’ll even have a tomorrow. What that means for me is that I want to make today the best it can be. I want to take each day and feel its power. The only way to do that is to face it with hope and energy. To give it my best and believe…really believe…that by doing so I can effect the kind of change I want to see. Not everything is always going to go my way. Little comes easy. Nothing comes at all if I don’t try.

The time of being quiet is over. I’m back and I’m in it to work for change. To work for a brighter, more positive tomorrow. To feel the heat of that fire all the way to my soul.

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The zombies are coming

VampiresI’ve always thought that I was a vampire and werewolf kind of girl but as it turns out, I’m really a zombie girl too! Sure, I’m big Walking Dead fan but I still didn’t think that made me much of a zombie enthusiast. Only after I learned the SyFy channel was filming a new zombie series in my neck of the woods did I understand. A call went out for zombie extras and I thought…why not? I signed up with a local talent agency. Following their recommendations, I did some homework by watching the suggested zombie movies. That’s when I discovered the truth about myself. Of the list provided, there was only one movie I hadn’t seen or in fact, owned. ONE! Of course, I have since remedied that oversight. Oh yeah, I’ve seen them all now.

So, when zombie audition day came, let’s just say I was prepared. That’s not to say I wasn’t scared to death. I mean, acting just isn’t something I’ve ever really done or even thought about for that matter. I’m a writer not a thespian. Except to be a zombie extra was just too good to pass up. I was born for a role like that! I went, along with about 700 others in the local community, to audition for the producers, the director, and the casting director. Scared as I was, the audition process was incredible fun. No, I’ve never acted but the moment my turn came, I WAS the zombie. It took amazingly little time to be in the moment and in the character. I couldn’t quit smiling when I finished.

Then came the wait. Who made the list as recurring zombie extras? Yeah, it was me, me, me! The filming has begun and as of yet, I’m still waiting for my call to the set. I don’t mind waiting though, it’s been a hoot so far. Stepping outside my comfort zone and doing that audition was the kind of experience that was worth facing fear for. Forget about what others might thing, forget about looking silly, forget about the anxiety. Be the zombie and the world opens up.

And remember…the zombies are coming and one of them might just be me.

Women’s History

DSC_0001Usually I like to talk about ghosts and goblins and witches, oh my. Not today. Instead, I want to take a moment to reflect on women. Yeah, you’ve caught me, I’m a die hard feminist. Oh wait, you probably already figured that out considering what I like to write. That and the fact that the heroines in my books are always tough…they kick ass and take names. No soft and fluffy females in my books.

But seriously, I have to take a few to thank some women who made a difference. Women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Mae Arkwright Hutton, and more recently, Gloria Steinem, Justice Ruth Bader Ginzberg, and so so many others who have carried the banner for women’s rights. These women blazed trails, made waves, and most importantly, made a difference for me and every woman in the United States. To them all, I say thank you and that like them, I will carry the message each and every chance I get.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled program…

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