Monday, October 5, 2015

Reflections on Love

For years, my blog bio has stated that I’m trying to “figure out this thing called life and the best way I
know how to do that is to write and to love.” I’ve shared a decent amount about writing over the past 800+ posts.

But what of love?

Every day I learn more about how love can’t be packaged as a feeling. It’s rooted in surrender, service, sacrifice, and supplication. For me, it’s anything but simple.
Here are a few glimpses of how love manifests itself in my life…

Forcing myself to stay awake to chat with my oldest daughter because even though I’m a morning bird, my night owl gets her second wind at 10pm, right when I’m desperate to crawl under the covers and sleep.

Apologizing first.

Letting go.

Committing to the hard path of parenting when it’s tempting to choose the easy route.

Seeking to understand.

Listening when I want to talk.

Driving my kids to activities, taking out the trash, risking intimacy, walking the dog . . .

Noticing—truly noticing and appreciating the season I’m in.

Grasping a vision and affection for all things deemed unlovable or discarded.

Delighting in nature.

Laughing hard.

Experiencing gratitude so deeply it ultimately serves as a motivator.

Responding when a response is called for.

Remaining silent.



Sometimes I do a bang up job when it comes to loving people. Other times, I whiff big time. As with all things, I hope to be forever improving, forever learning.

I’m largely who I am because of how I’ve been loved. My memory is long for those for those who’ve chosen to pour into me. And my life is full.

~ Love quotes that are speaking to me right now ~
“Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.” ~ Zora Neale Hurston

“If a thing loves, it is infinite.” ~ William Blake

“Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.” ~ C. S. Lewis

Monday, September 28, 2015

One More Thing about Nurses

There’s been a lot of talk about nurses lately. After stepping back and witnessing all the scuttle, I
decided I have something to share.

I love nurses.
I’ve been cared for by some of the best.

And I thought I’d take this opportunity to thank a few I’ve encountered specifically. Not necessarily by name. See, because the nurses who’ve helped me were never concerned with me remembering their names. Nope. Their only goal was to aid me to better health. The way I see it, nursing is one of the most altruistic careers to go into.

So, here’s to the nurse in Seattle who cared for me post-surgery sixteen years ago. You were young. You were pregnant. And I’m extremely grateful for the way you normalized the situation I was in. I couldn’t stand or walk with ease. I was ashamed and embarrassed by the way my body reacted to surgery. You made me laugh. You even helped me shower when all hell broke loose and my fiancĂ© was two seconds from walking in the room. You gifted me with the belief that someday I’d be okay again. For that I’ll be forever grateful.

One month later, I danced the night away at my wedding.

Here’s to the nurses who cared for me during labor and after I’d birthed my babies. Again, you gave me play-by-plays. You coached me. You talked me down. You warmed my heart. You gave me confidence, education, and empowerment. Thank you.

Here’s to the pediatric oncologist nurse I recently met with for hours, questioning as I feverishly took notes for a book I’m getting ready to release. You were patient. You were informative. You understood my compassion for my character and the situation she was in. Because you’ve loved patients in the same place. I’m grateful you made the time.

Finally, here’s to my sister, who after years building a career in sports marketing, felt the tug to invest in a new career. You know what it feels like to be blessed with a good bedside manner, suffering through years of chronic pain yourself. You turn around and breathe hope into your patients, you instill kindness with every shot given, every tube changed. You are a silent hero.

Nurses change the world.

Is there a nurse you’d like to thank today?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Just Too Good To Be True

There’s something I’m always subconsciously doing while driving around town. I’m on the prowl. I’m looking for something like this…

That I can turn into something like this…

Because this song plays in my head whenever I see a lonely piece of furniture waiting for a brushstroke and a prayer…

 We both benefit. The furniture item gets a new life. And I experience one cathartic, creative brainstorming session as I transform the project. A win-win.

Do you enjoy working with your hands?

*Thanks to my cool neighbors who gave me the pallet above!

Monday, September 14, 2015

I have a teenager. . .

And for most moms of teenagers, I can pretty much just stop there. Because you know. You get it. I have to seize my moments, making the most of the golden hours when she actually doesn’t seem to mind being around me.

Most of the time I get one or more of any of the following: the infamous eye roll, the talk to the texting hand, the not now groan, the “what?” (Which needs no further explanation because all moms of teenagers heard exactly the pitch I’m referring to while reading that), or nothing at all because she’s been squirreled away up in her room all day.

All normal. All natural.

But that’s what makes what I’m about to share so special.

We had one of those irresistible breakthrough days yesterday.

We slipped into one of my favorite zones—the carefree, cut loose, bond-like-we’ve-never-bonded-before zone.

We went shopping. And the point wasn’t to rack up a whopping credit card bill. Nope. We did find a few things, but we had the most fun acting as ludicrous personal shoppers for one another. We had one rule. The other person must try on everything selected for them. (Images burned into my brain: me in the gold dress and my daughter donning the palm tree sweater.)

My daughter picked out these pants for me to squeeze into.

As a joke, I had her try on this frumpy frump.

*she gave me permission to post this pic

Because I’m a rock star.

And we laughed until I nearly split those shiny blue pants.

I savored every single second.

Because I remember when she looked like this…

And I remember when I felt like this…

And moments like what I just described are exactly what I’ll be thinking about the next time she stomps up the stairs telling me I don’t understand anything. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Wendy Paine Miller 8.0

Why 8.0? This is my eight hundredth post. 800! And since I was never a fan of moving the decimal, or any math for that matter, I’m sticking with 8.0. Eight is my favorite number anyway.

What comes with the 8.0 version of me?


I had no idea what to blog about today. I had a major brain block and for those of you who know me that was no small thing. It rattled me and challenged me to debate if maybe my days of making thoughts move are over. See, unlike decimal points, inspiring you to think is where I’ve found my groove. Those in the publishing industry might dub it something like a brand. Call it whatever you want, but it’s what I love to do. In my novels. On this blog. Even during conversations. (Probably why I’m infatuated with book clubs.)

Thousands of ideas surge through my head throughout the day. I even think in tweets sometimes (I know, scary). But I have to admit, these years of bravely going public as a writer have resulted in a bit of a trippy experience. What to share? What not to share?

Let me explain…in this day and age when people post every stinking photo and status update, documenting their lives in second by second play-by-plays, I get a little freaked out. I begin to wonder if we all start to naively believe we know someone when we’re only sampling one version of that person.

Those makeup tutorials about how to put on concealer on Pinterest have a tendency to weird me out. We’ve all gotten so good at covering up, at photographing our best side, at crafting a tweet-worthy response. My gut tells me it’s only going to get more and more difficult to discern what’s real and what’s not. The natural versus the programmed, rehearsed, and orchestrated.

I’ve made a commitment to be candid here on this blog. But I’ve had so much go on behind the scenes I haven’t opened up about. On purpose. Not because I’m trying to present this Pollyanna falsification of myself, but because life has reminded me in some rather cruel and startling ways how people don’t always have my best interests at heart. There are so many folks online who’ve become like vultures with their opinions, feeding on the risks and failures of others. I share a lot, but I hold a lot back, too. I’ve found that’s what works best for me—helps me to keep my balance and perspective when it’s time for reviews to role in.

So, now to address what this new Wendy 8.0 version will be…

Me, candid…uncensored. It won’t be me trying to check the boxes of what some publishing house is looking for or even what I think my readers need to know (because I’m not a mind reader).

8.0 is going to be the stirrings of my heart, the quiet promptings impossible to ignore. Soul whispers.

I miss Sincerity online lately.

So, I’m bringing her back. Except she has my name. She takes a horrible selfie. She doesn’t follow fads. She cries after reading books like Eleanor & Park. Her heart breaks for family members. Her fury ignites whenever anyone threatens harm against her kids. Forgiveness and grace bleed throughout her entire being—but she wrestles them frequently. She gets pissed. She gets tired. She gets lonely in a crowded room. She’s infected with a passion for writing and stung with compassion whenever she sees a crying woman. She loves.

And she’s now going to stop talking about herself in the third person.

8.0 out.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Short and Sincere Life of Ellory James

Look what's coming late this October/early November!

The Short & Sincere Life of Ellory James
My latest novella.

Hope you'll love it as much as I do.

More details to come!

Click here to see the cover.
(For some reason blogger isn't letting me upload the cover image.)

*Note: Zoey's 2nd book, The Precarious Hold of Love releases late spring of 2016

Monday, August 17, 2015

Ten Priorities Up On Top

What’s a woman to do when she has five million priorities weighing on her? It’s often difficult to know what to tackle first and in what order. In time, I’ve found that there are a few ways to alleviate the stress related with this time of year.
And I’d love to share what has helped me in the past.
Ten Things to Help You Prioritize
Don’t Get All Dystopian on Your Schedule
I have a tendency to let anxiety creep in if I know there are dozens of things I need to tackle in a short amount of time or, as often happens, I need to get all three kids to activities at the exact same time. My husband likes to tell me not to “run down the path”. It’s his way of reminding me not to freak myself out about what the future holds and that usually the things that need to get done…get done.
Put Your Pants on One Leg at a Time
Don’t overcomplicate things. Sometimes the things you keep insisting have to get accomplished really don’t.
Pray It Out
I’m always amazed at what a little meditative breathing, chat with God, and/or time of reflective surrender does for my mental outlook.
Don’t Be a Train Wreck
Be aware of what’s likely to derail you throughout the day. Is it self-deprecation on steroids? How about the babbling mail carrier? Could it be social media? Or spending more time planning than actually doing?
Time Travel to Gauge Regret
I know, I know, I just told you not to get all dystopian, but what I mean here is to take pause. Evaluate the twenty things on your list and ask yourself to take one giant step in the future. Now, looking back, which things on that list will you regret doing? Or not doing?
Be a Magic Johnson Kind of Point Guard
Had to ask my husband for basketball help on this. Guard points of interest in your life that matter to you outside of the never-ending to-do list. Carve out time to exercise. Block out major distractions. Discern when a maybe-do shows up on the court disguised as a must-do.
Maximize Light Bulb Hours
There are certain times of the day when your brain is sharper than others. Know what time of day your light bulbs go off the most. Accomplish the more involved, mentally involved tasks during these hours.
Blueprint Your Days
I’ll admit it. I still use a planner. Maybe I’m stuck in the 80s. Or maybe I know myself and I’ve discovered there’s something about writing a task down that locks it in my head better. Make goals. Write them down. Stay on target.
Call on the Troops
Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help when needed. You’re bound to be more effective in the areas you’re most called to when you’re willing to involve others. We all bring strengths to the table. Look around. There’s a big table out there.
Whoops—I Call a Do-Over
We’re sort of like cats in this area. We get at least nine do-overs. So what, you were late to carpool. No big deal you forgot to bring dessert to the second grade meet and greet. Oh well, you didn’t cross off everything on your list today.

There’s always regret-free tomorrow.