It’s been a while…

me-prof-pic-1I admit — it’s been a while since I’ve posted any updates here — but I have been very active! If you want to keep up with what I’ve been up to from day to day, be sure to also follow my Facebook page.

Have you heard about Chip Gaines’ dream launcher project known as Chipstarter 2.0? Well, I decided it was high time to take a giant leap into letting the world know what I would really like to be doing every day as I live out my dream of being part of a successful world of words. I’m not giving up my own writing goals, but here’s the other part of that dream…click here to watch my 2-minute video entry in this year’s contest…I’d love your feedback!

new-berrysin-imageI also just posted my latest book review; it shares my thoughts on C. Hope Clark’s 4th book in her Carolina Slade mystery series. The book, Newberry Sin, was released in April 2018. I really enjoyed it, as I have all of her books I’ve read so far. Take a look

The next meeting of the Writers and Wannabes Guild of Greater Jersey County IL will be meeting on Thursday, Sept. 20 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Jerseyville Public Library, 105 North Liberty, Jerseyville, IL 62052. If you’re in the area, please feel free to drop in.

pexels-photo-1043514.jpegI am finally revisiting the fictional piece I started over 2 years ago while living out East. My colleagues and friends in the Writers and Wannabes Guild gave me some very sound advice and direction at our last meeting that has now prompted me on how to move forward. I will be working on some further storyline ideas in the weeks ahead and asking a few trustworthy friends for their thoughts. I can’t adequately express here how excited I am to be able to say that!

100_3662Fall comes to us all on Saturday, Sept. 22 — and I am ready for it indeed!!! It has been an unusually long hot summer here. We moved over Memorial Day weekend and it really was tough. It looks like we’ll be moving again soon, but for my husband and me, this should be the last move we ever make — at least until our kids throw us in a nursing home. Stay tuned…

Another thing that hasn’t happened for me in a very long time: I have had one of my photos accepted into an upcoming local art gallery exhibition. The show, “Alton Architecture,” will be open in the main gallery at Jacoby Arts Center in Alton, IL throughout the month of October 2018. If you’re in the area, consider stopping in and taking in the show!

Thank you so much for stopping by, for your continued interest and support, and for helping me and so many others make their dreams come true…we’ll chat again soon!

— Melissa Crockett Meske

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Book launch celebration and signing party Sept. 24–read all about it!

newsletter-graphicI will be publishing my latest issue of my mostly-monthly author e-mail newsletter on Monday morning, Sept. 12, 2016, including details on my upcoming party! If you haven’t signed up to receive it, text MCMESKE to 22828 or click here to sign up today. You won’t want to miss the inside scoop! Join me along the trail…I’d love to have you on the journey!

We made it!!!

youth-570881_960_720Another year moves behind us as today marks the end of our celebration of all things poetry.

National Poetry Month aka #NaPoMo is marked each each year in April through a variety of ways…I chose to challenge myself to writing 30 poems during the past 30 days of celebration…

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my final three…poems 28, 29, and 30 can now be enjoyed here…along with the other 27.

I did it…we made it…and I thank all of you for your interest, support, and ongoing words of encouragement. Enjoy!!!

And be sure to come back every day for the next few days for some more exciting news as this author and poet continues to splash around and play in the wonderful world of words…and just in time for Mother’s Day!!!

I see a big reveal coming your way…stay tuned…

Yes, love is one of those four letter words…

Happy_Valentines_DayFor all of those who dread the weekend ahead, there are many more of us who look forward to it. Sunday is Valentine’s Day…the holiday where love is celebrated just as it should be. And lovers have a wide variety of ways to express just how much the ones they love mean to them.

For me and my handsome hubby, we chose to turn the day into a double whammy chock full of love by getting married on that day just two years ago. The date was 2-14-14, and it was 14 months after we first fell in love.

You couldn’t get more romantic. We also knew that in the future if either of us forgot our wedding anniversary and Valentine’s Day, there would be real hell to pay!

Love is a four letter word. As is hell. They both invoke so much passion inside of us when they enter our hearts, our minds, our lives. When you think about it, all of the four letter words are felt with equal passion. “I hate you!” “F*** you!” “Sh*t!” “Damn!” “Go to hell!” OR “I love you!” “I miss you!” “Kiss me!” I could go on.

Each and every one of these declarations trigger deeply felt emotional responses within their exploiters as well as within their targeted recipients if, in fact, they are living objects (we all know that the objects aren’t always alive).

Ironically, there are more four letter words that we use to symbolize the love we want to express to someone. Card. Gift. Rose. Kiss. Poem. Song. Ring. Meal. Wine. Beer. Oh, and one might invoke that one four-letter word again in some cases…you know…a good “f***” or more nicely put, a romantic evening of lovemaking.

Chocolate doesn’t make the four-letter word list, but I’m sure we can figure out a way to make it work within the limits if we try.

All of these symbols, these expressions, are as passionately impactful as the emotions they have been invoked to represent.

Words are powerful, even at just a mere four letters.

I was told repeatedly for a good chunk of my life that “feelings are liars.” But, as my Kevin has pointed out to me often enough, feelings are who we are. They are how we feel.

If our feelings are liars, then does that mean we are all living un-authentically every time we tell our children we love them as we kiss them good night? Are we lying when we grieve the loss of someone who we told for years how much we love them? Is it false to cry when we hurt? Does anger feel fake as it flushes our faces? What is it then that causes our hearts to swell with pride when we watch our child perform his first drum solo or have his first piece on display in the art gallery? Were we all faking it as we watched in horror and disbelief as the planes crashed and the towers fell?

Love is one of those four letter words. And maybe I used to think it was often a lie. But I have come to terms with it, and all the other four letter words we embrace or dread. I am now living as authentically as the world will let me. I am enveloped in love, and life sounds good, and feels even better. I invite you to do the same.

Now we just need to come up with a four letter word for chocolate…or better yet, those red velvet cheesecake brownies that my sweetheart makes better than anyone else ever.

Valentine’s Day…bring it on!

The holidays don’t have to be crazy days

life scrabble
Work–life balance can be achieved by establishing and maintaining appropriate levels of time and energy expended between your “work” (career and ambition) and your “lifestyle” (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development).

Having this balance allows you to experience enjoyment, personal fulfillment—not just happiness, but also pride, satisfaction, love and celebration—an all-encompassing sense of well-being.

When your work and personal lives are out of balance, your stress level is likely to soar. Throw in the holidays and all the added demands for your time and attention and you might just feel as though you’ll either explode or melt. Juggling your career and personal life is a never-ending challenge, and the holiday season only adds to the struggle.

Here’s 4 tips for proactively and positively maintaining a healthy work-life balance this holiday season:

  1. In the workplace: Schedule walking meetings to help maintain an exercise routine. It’s easy to discard your daily workout when your time is demanded upon in a dozen other places each day. A walking meeting will not only keep you well and keep you moving, but will also help to maintain a greater focus on the meeting’s purpose. Those who are in the meeting with you will reap the added health benefit as well, and there will be a lot less opportunity to digress from the meeting’s agenda by those who often do.
  2. Working from home/self-employed: Continue maintaining your daily routine and schedule, but consider reducing your scheduled productive blocks of time. Rather than five 8-hour blocks of focused time each week, it might serve you better to shoot for six blocks that are 6 hours each. This not only frees up more time in each day for family and fulfilling your holiday to-do list, it also makes sense because your creativeness and energy are being drawn in an added direction for the next several weeks. You will need more blocks of time to re-energize in between.
  3. Frustrated_man_at_a_desk_(cropped)Personally speaking: Prioritize where you plan to expend your time, energy, talent and being. Keep rest, down time and sleep at the very top of your list. If you allow yourself to be spread too thin, you’ll end up weakening yourself and your immune system. Your goal for the holidays should be to spend quality, uninterrupted time with those you care about most rather than to end up at home too sick to be around them at all.
  4. Specifically regarding the holiday celebrations: Rather than being perfect, be joyful and enjoyed instead. Stay home for your holiday meal or visit one side of the family—but not both. If you are preparing the holiday meal, keep it simple; prepare only those holiday dishes your loved ones can’t seem to live without. Or consider making it a potluck, ordering your meal in, or maybe even eating out. Again, it’s all about the quality of the time spent making memories, not about the quantity of the food served or the gifts given. Speaking of gifts…consider drawing names instead of having every person giving (and therefore buying) something for every other person in the bunch.

Traditional holiday dinner

The best gift you can give during the holidays and every day is one of memorable experiences.

After all, that’s why we celebrate the holidays: to share love and joy among generations as we reflect on past memories and create new ones.

What good is it to spend all your time and energy trying to build a memorable occasion if the later reflection upon it is one that everyone would just rather forget?