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Happy New Year!


I can’t believe 2015 is almost here. How can that be? I still remember listening to Prince’s song “1999” and I used to think that 1999 seemed so far away. Man, if there was only a way to slow down time.

Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer to that. But as I’m getting older and hopefully a bit wiser, I’ve learned to force myself to slow things down. I’ve promised myself that if there’s a moment in time I want to remember, I’m going to stop what I’m doing and just feel. It could be somebody singing a beautiful song, or my kids opening their gifts, or my dog playing with her toys, or welcoming the birth of my beautiful niece, or finishing my manuscript…

Memories are very important to me. Since time is slipping away, I at least want to try to remember things that touch me—you know, just to internalize it all and live for the moment.

I know, I know…we all try to come up with a New Year’s Resolution, promising ourselves that this new year will be different. We all work hard on it for the first couple of months and then we fall back on our old habits. Trust me, I’ve been there many times!

But this year, I challenge you to come up with realistic goals. It could even be simple things that are easy to achieve. You just really have to look within yourself to see what’s important to you.

Somebody once told me that nobody is responsible for my happiness but myself. I thought about it for a long time, and I realized that the person was right. At the end of the day, it’s up to me whether I see the cup as half full or half empty. I’m in charge of my own happiness—not my family, not my friends, not my work. It’s up to me to find where my happiness lies. So guess what? I decided to laugh more, to appreciate the little things in life, to just live my life to the fullest. Because before I know it, things could be taken away from me in a heartbeat. Yes, life is moving that fast, folks.

What are your dreams? What are some things you always wanted to do? What is your calling? Only you can answer these questions. The only way to do that is to really do some soul searching. Sure, you may not be able to drop all that you’re responsible for and pursue your dreams. Unfortunately, that probably is not very practical. But maybe you can come up with some sort of compromise.

Let me explain. In my case, I wanted to see if I could write a novel. Granted, this has nothing to do with my career field. I’m a physical therapist for heaven’s sake. But I wanted to just challenge myself. And do you know what? I realize I absolutely love it. I enjoy creating my own world through my books, my characters, and most of all, I love bringing these books to my readers. Who would have thought that this was something that would be my passion? But does that mean I’m going to drop my job, go to other countries to do my research for my books, and just focus on my writing? That’s just not very practical for me. So what do I do? I compromise. I try to focus on my writing/marketing on evenings and weekends. Instead of writing two or three books a year, I write one every ten months. It’s the best I can do and that’s good enough for now. Like I said, I enjoy creating stories, and it’s a nice therapeutic escape to lose myself into my fictional world.

So don’t sell yourself short…just go for it! Don’t wait for the right time because it’ll never come. 2015 is YOUR year! Embrace it and take control of your own happiness!

As you think about what you want out of 2015, I’ll leave you with a little excerpt from Chaysing Dreams. This is actually New Year’s Eve party and Tess and Jack are nineteen years old in this scene.


 Chaysing Dreams Excerpt (New Year’s Eve)

Jack takes my hand and leads me under the mistletoe. He lifts my chin up to look at him and says, “Ok, Tess, don’t freak like you did last time I tried to kiss you.”

“What? I didn’t freak. I didn’t know…” Before I can finish my sentence, he leans forward and plants his lips on me. It’s a brief kiss, but full of tenderness.

“See, not too bad, right?” Jack asks.

“Shut up, Jack,” I say, laughing with him.

Jack takes my hand, leads me to the rest of the guests, and we begin mingling.

Right when midnight is about to strike, we start the count down.

All of us yell, “10, 9, 8….4, 3, 2, 1!” We all jump around, hugging one another, and screaming, “Happy New Year!”

As I embrace everybody, suddenly my phone buzzes. I glance down at my phone and notice a text that says,

“Thinking about you as this new year starts. Happy New Year!”

I don’t recognize the number. So I reply:

Thank you. Who is this?”

“Come on, Tessnia, you know who this is.”

Oh my god, it’s him! My heart skips a beat.

How did you get my number?”

You gave it to me, a while back.”

“I don’t remember giving it to you?”

I know I hadn’t given it to him.

“I guess where there’s a will, there’s a way. Have a good night, Tessnia.”

And that’s that. The conversation ends and I’m left wondering if that really happened. I quickly save his phone number, purposefully ignoring my shaky fingers and erratic heartbeat.

    chaysing dreams cover_GoldMedal    cm new cover_GoldMedal   ChaysingDestinyFrontCover



chaysing dreams cover_GoldMedal

“Run!” Her inner voice yells at her. And she runs. She runs without looking back. She is scared. Something is chasing her. The sound of blood roars through her ears as her heartbeat is racing. What’s happening? But she doesn’t turn around. She runs because she knows her life depends on it. The wind howls and moans as she keeps running. She doesn’t know where she is running. It’s dark. She can’t see anything and she trips. She tries to stop her fall. Her hands get scraped on the ground. She feels branches and twigs on the ground as she pushes herself back up. She runs faster. The bramble and vine that saturate the forest floor lacerate her feet. She doesn’t know what she’s running from, but she can tell it is closing in on her. She can hear something cutting through the fallen branches behind her. She is breathing so fast! She feels the cuts from the branches sting her face. She ducks and dodges as she tries to escape. She is gasping for air, but she doesn’t care. She has to keep running. But she knows this “something” is getting closer. She’s suffocating. She feels like she is trapped. No, no! Please! Not like this! She keeps running, but she’s losing. She’s desperately flailing her arms to fight off whatever that’s chasing her. She screams, “No, no!” It has closed in on her. She feels it catch her. Oh my god! This thing has caught her! It’s shaking her. NO, NO!

In Chaysing Dreams, Tess, the main character, is haunted by her dreams. Eventually, she is forced to face her worst nightmare.


Have you ever woken up from a dream and wondered, “What the hell was that about?” I don’t know about you, but I’ve had the most bazaar dreams in my years.

I’ve had dreams about trying to escape from tornados, snakes, people chasing me, and even ex-boyfriends whom I haven’t thought about in years! I won’t even get started on my sexual dreams.

When my dreams are scary, I usually wake up, breathing heavy, trying to forget the dreams. But many times, the dreams I’m trying to forget, continue after I fall asleep again! What kind of luck is that!

Some of my most memorable dreams have been about people who have passed away. I remember when I was only nine years old, my grandma came into my dream a week after she passed away. Although I don’t remember the details about that dream, I remember feeling happy that I saw her one last time. I was always close to my Grandma Menna. (When my daughter was born fifteen years after her death, I named her Tajmenna after my grandma.)

More recently, one of my patients (I will call her Becky) passed away about five years ago. Although I deeply cared about her, my work colleague was extremely close to other. Becky was like a daughter to her. It was a death that impacted the whole department. My colleague went through deep depression.

Within a few years after her death, Becky came into my dream- twice. She wasn’t disabled and not bound to her wheelchair anymore. She was standing and walking and talking. She was babbling about something or another but dancing and looking beautiful as ever. I woke up in sweat, wondering why I’m dreaming about Becky, when I honestly didn’t even think about her too often. But then I thought maybe it was a message I was supposed to deliver to my colleague. Maybe Becky wanted her to know that she’s fine, and happy, and to not worry. I will forever cherish my dreams about Becky because I truly believe that it wasn’t by coincidence that I dreamed about her. I believe that Becky was worried about my colleague and intentionally used me as a “vessel” to communicate.

I’ve always been intrigued by dreams. Why do we dream? And what the hell do they mean? Ok, let’s get to the basic question. What is a dream?  According to Webster, a dream is “a series of thoughts, images, or emotions occurring during sleep.” Ok, sounds simple enough. We dream mostly in our REM stage of sleep, which is when our brain activity is high and resembles that of being awake.

But what do these dreams mean? There are many theories. Sigmund Freud believed that dreams are a representation of our unconscious thoughts and desires. He wrote dreams are “disguised fulfillments of repressed wishes.”

Another theory suggests that dreams are interpretation of signals generated by our brain during sleep (activation-synthesis model of dreaming). This theory suggests that dreaming may be our most creative state, and often can lead to new ideas.

Yet other theories propose that dreams are a result of our brains trying to interpret external stimuli during sleep. (ie the alarm going off, or the radio playing in the background).

Another model suggests that during dreams we are able to make connections between different thoughts and emotions in a safe environment.

Ok, so these are just theories. Nobody knows for a fact why we dream and what they mean. What do I believe? I think dreams have something to do with our subconscious. Possibly our subconscious is communicating with us through our dreams. I don’t think we’ve even tapped into the power of our brains.

What do you guys think? I’d love to hear about some of your dreams or your beliefs/theories.





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