Becoming Mindful

I have been pretty vocal, via Facebook and other social media, over the past 12-18 months about the importance of being mindful and the practice of mindfulness. However, I’m not sure I’ve ever really talked about it here on my blog. So, as I look at the changes I want to make in myself over the next year and how I’d like this blog to grow in 2019, I’ve decided to kick off a new weekly post: #MindfulnessMonday 


mindfulness#MindfulnessMonday – In this weekly post, starting February 2019, I will be sharing some mindfulness tips and tricks. I will also share a weekly mindful journaling exercise that can be done in just minutes. Make sure you subscribe to my YouTube series #MindfulnessMonday so you never miss an episode.  



EPISODE #1 ~ What is Mindfulness?

EPISODE #2 ~ Tips to Reduce Stress and Anxiety!

EPISODE #3 ~ MindFULness NOT MindLESSness!

New episodes are posted every Monday, on the YouTube channel, so check back often! 



Want to take the 52 week challenge and experience a more mindful existance? Check out The Invisible You ~ 52 Weeks of Meditations, Activities, and Writing Prompts to Help you Discover You!

*I’m certified in Holistic Stress Management and Mind/Body Fitness. I’ve been practicing Mindfulness for 10+ years and am passionate about helping others in their pursuit of a more mindful existence. 




How did I end up here?!?!


“Here” was not part of my plan.

It’s just a fact of life… life takes us in all kinds of directions and down so many different paths that we often wonder, “How did I end up here?”

I had a plan… After college I got married, moved to Los Angeles, began my career as a Hollywood actress. The plan was then to become an established actress and live the good life. Ever since I was a kid, I told my parents that I wanted a limo. Not to drive, but to be driven around in. I had high hopes, big dreams, and HUGE aspirations.

As often happens, life decided that my path needed a few twists and turns I hadn’t planned on, and about a hundred bumps, potholes, and caverns standing in my way. I wasn’t even two years into my marriage when a separation inevitably led to divorce. But, I didn’t let that stop me… I continued on, audition after audition, callback after callback, film set after film set, and of course endless hours at my full-time job. Then, one day I met a guy… handsome, confident, talented, smart, all the words you want to be able to attribute to your significant other. At the time, I had no idea that he was my future husband. I was just thinking… “date night.” One date led to two, and then a week, and then a month, and soon a year had passed and we were still happy and in love.

We got married, and shortly after the wedding he got offered a job. OUT OF STATE! I wanted to be the supportive wife. I understood that the opportunity for him to further his career and finish his college degree was important to the future of our family. We sat down and talked about our options. The only one that made sense was to pack up (tears began to roll down my face.) and move across country leaving my dreams behind. The plan was to be gone two years. In theory, it was long enough for him to finish his degree and for us to meet some financial goals we had as newlyweds. Two years turned into four, then six, and now it has been almost fourteen years.

I cried the first two hours of our car ride as I watched California slowly disappear into the distance behind us, and again the last half hour as our new life slowly started to unfold in front of us.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my life and I love where we have ended up and the family we have made. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t still times when the past bubbles up inside of me and I long for the beach, the California sun, palm trees, and of course that moment your phone rings and it’s your agent saying, “You got the part!” What a feeling… but, it doesn’t even compare to that moment when the room is dark only lit by a small night-light, and tiny arms are wrapped around me and I hear, “Mommy, I love you…” whispered in my ear. That moment too is soon to pass… my little ones are getting older and will soon to be teenagers with all the attitude and self-allotted independence that comes along with the teen years.

Would I change things? HELL NO! The greatest job I’ve ever had is being a mom, and no matter how much I loved California, it is no place to raise a child. We ended up here for a reason… actually two reasons and they are the most important people in my life!


Rewrites… Week One In Review

OMG… REWRITE HELL IS WHERE I AM RIGHT NOW!!! Yeah, I’m not really sure that is a thing, but right about now I am looking at my 6-week deadline/goal/challenge to get my book rewrites done and the e-book on the market… HAA HAA HAA! I seriously underestimated the extent to which my life would try to jump in and screw things up!


These are just a few of the things that got in the way of me actually doing what I wanted and needed to do this week!

Okay, so here is my WEEK ONE IN REVIEW UPDATE:

Well, one week down and five to go! No, if you’re wondering, I don’t sound happy about that. Week one did not go at all like I had hoped. You see the task for week one was:

  • Week 1 – Reread the book and all editor’s notes

Did I complete week one’s task? NO! Am I going to give excuses and bitch and moun about why I didn’t complete my task? YOU BEAT I AM!

Well, for starters, work (my real job – and not just the fun pretending like I’m making a living as an author job) was CRAZY busy this week. I actually worked over my regular 8 hour shift EVERY DAY! Yes, and then I had theatre rehearsal Monday, Wednesday, and Sunday… not to mention there was one day when I was so sick/tired that I fell asleep on the couch sometime in the early evening and didn’t really wake up until the next morning (at some point I did wake up enough to talk to my husband, kiss the kids good night, and crawl into bed). Saturday was Up early – Cleaning – 1 Hour of Reading – Cooking Breakfast – Gymnastics – Birthday Party #1 – Cooking and Cleaning – Birthday Party #2 – Home to Bed!

So, over the course of the week I was able to put in a whooping total of 4 hours of reading in! Yup, you read that correctly – 4 HOURS! Did I finish the book? NO, I am an extremely SLOW reader – for pleasure and work! However, if I am honest with myself I am pretty impressed with the fact that I did get through 140 of the 250+ pages. So, I am over half way done, and not only did I read the first 140 pages I also was able to work through many of the editor notes (fixing issues, rewriting sentences, etc.) as I went along. So far there have been no major edits/editorial notes that will lead me to rearranging chapters (THANK YOU GOD!), and therefore I feel confident that moving into week 2 I can continue on the same path I am on now, and still end up right where I need to be for week 3!

Do I want to scream? YES

Why? Because today is the first day of week 2 and I had no time to read – none – nil – nought – zero – zilch – zip – You get the picture right? Yeah, if today is any indication as to how the rest of the week is going to be I just might be pulling my hair out by Sunday. And, trust me… my hair is my best feature – If I lose that, there will be little else to admire. 

So once again here is the plan:

  • Week 1 – Reread the book and all editor’s notes – (YEAH, THAT DIDN”T GO AS PLANNED)
  • Week 2 – Outline changes, rearrange chapters (if needed) based on editor’s notes – (NOT REALLY GOING TO NEED TO OUTLINE CHANGES AND REARRANGE CHAPTERS – I WILL JUST USE THIS WEEK TO FINISH THE REREAD!)
  • Week 3 – Rewrite cover to cover
  • Week 4 – Reread the book for content, timeline, character motivation
  • Week 5 – Reread the book for edits: grammar, spelling, etc.
  • Week 6 – Final changes, format, upload, and publish

So, after week one – are you still ready to take this journey with me? Come on, it will be fun! Check in next Monday to see how wild and crazy week two gets!

Beginnings ~ a Blood Angel novel by Nina Soden Coming soon to e-readers everywhere!

Beginnings ~ a Blood Angel novel by Nina Soden
Coming soon to e-readers everywhere!


Mayonnaise Jar & Two Beers…

Okay, I didn’t write this and I don’t know who did, but whoever did – thank you. My mom sent this to me and I couldn’t agree with its message any more than I do. I hope anyone now reading it can appreciate it asynchronous as I do!

Mayonnaise Jar & Two Beers…

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle; when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the Mayonnaise Jar and the 2 Beers.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with
golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.

The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the
golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.

Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He asked once more if the jar was full?

The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two real beers (not Bud or Miller) from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed!

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things—your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car..

The sand is everything else—the small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children.

Spend time with your parents,
brothers and sisters.

Visit with grandparents.

Take your spouse out to dinner.

Play another 18 holes of golf.

There will always be time to clean the house, fix the disposal or deal with things from your job.

Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter.

Set your priorities.

The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented.

The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’

The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers with a friend!

Behind Locked Doors – On the Edge

Standing on the edge of a cliff both literally and figuratively. He peered out across the horizon. Above him nothing but the clear blue sky, below him the vast ocean, and behind him the thick forest trees. If he turns back into the trees he is met with life face to face. As he watches the ocean he feels only the calming silence of the crashing waves. He hears the distant calls from those fighting to get his attention… His heart… His soul…

Without question without care he turns to face the ocean and with arms spread he stepped off the edge. He fell as if floating and then suddenly broke through the blanket of water and submerged himself in the cool wet bed of water. As he held his breath and looked around there was beautiful life all around him. He swam staying fully submerged for as long as he could. But being only human he couldn’t stay in this world forever.

just as he was beginning to swim to the surface he felt a pull on his leg. When he looked down he was face to face with an exotic beauty… long black flowing hair… deep chocolate-brown eyes… rosy red lips… And the softest milky skin he had ever seen. But where her legs should have been… A fin… Mermaid? It couldn’t be… Was he dreaming? Had he drowned?

His eyes closed and he drifted away. When he opened them again he was on his back on the hard rocks at the bottom of the cliff. As he gazed into the sky above the distant clouds were passing slowly as if crawling through the sky. He allowed himself a few more stolen moments to dream of a distant land where his life was his own before turning to the cliff and beginning his long climb back to reality.

(c) Copyright Soden, Nina 2011