Be Kind

Cinderella-2015There was a lot of talk a couple of months back about the remake of the movie Cinderella.  My family and I loved the re-telling and its faithfulness to the classic fairy tale.  The thing that has stuck with me the most since seeing the film is the mother’s deathbed advice to Cinderella, “Have courage and be kind.”  Such simple words, but such deep meaning.

I recently came across a short article written about a question posed on Tumblr asking for simple advice: how can I be kind?  The blogger’s answer may surprise some.  In a nutshell, he told the writer to “fake it.”  Yes, you read that right.  The advice was to think about what an actual kind person would do, and just do it.  He suggested that over time, even a horrible person could learn to become kind.  “…There isn’t actually any difference between doing something nice for someone because you are naturally saintly and perfect, and doing something nice for someone because you are secretly demonic and trying to cover it up. It’s still an act of kindness either way, and you still made their lives better” (author, Neil Gaiman).  His advice was to smile, say hello, act interested in what others have to say, and give people the benefit of the doubt.

I’ve thought about this a lot lately.  What if we all did this every day?  What if we pretended not to be in a bad mood, not to be angry at someone, not to be disinterested in what someone is saying?  What if we actually acted like we care about everyone even if we don’t?  Does that sound harsh or even sarcastic?  Perhaps at first, but what if it became a habit?  Maybe in time, we would actually learn to be in a good mood, to quickly get over our anger, to actually find an interest in what others are doing or saying, to truly care about others.  What if our pretending became who we are in reality?  As the song says, what a wonderful world it could be.

My Legacy

030This morning I attended the Baccalaureate Mass for our school’s Class of 2015.  Our Pastor asked each student to think ahead 60 years and imagine looking back on their lives.  “What will your legacy be?” he asked them.  He implored them to do more with their lives than just make money.  He told them that their legacy is important and that they should make it matter.  Each one of us will leave behind a legacy, something that we pass down to future generations, whether we are the President of the United States, a businessman, a teacher, a doctor, or a parent.  Each one of us will do or say something that will not be forgotten, good or bad.

If we are lucky, we will be remembered for more than one thing.  I hope to be remembered by the whole world as a writer, but I want to remembered by those who knew me best as a faithful wife, mother, friend, and Christian.  It doesn’t matter to me if I ever become rich, but I hope that the words I write will someday inspire a generation.  I don’t care if I’m ever recognized for the volunteer work I do, but I hope I’ve made a difference in somebody’s life.  It won’t mean a thing if I don’t have countless friends, but I hope that the ones I do have know they can always depend on me.  I don’t worry about how far I will climb, but I pray that my children will always look up to me.

A few years ago my oldest daughter told me that she believed I had wasted my education (I have a Masters of Library and Information Science) by deciding to stay home and spend more time with my children.  Now, of course, I’m a published author with another book on the way, and she sees how hard I worked to get here in spite of concentrating on my family and not my career.  Yesterday she told me that she never appreciated me enough and thanked me for being the mother I am.  I’d say that’s a pretty good legacy to leave behind even if I never do anything else for the next 60 years.

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels.  Her first book, A Place to Call Home is in its second printing and may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com

Just Breathe

IMG_8243Breathe.  We all do it.  Ultimately it’s what keeps all of us alive.  Without breath, there is no life.  About it, songs have been sung, books have been written, and even movies have been made. In the Bible, we are told that God breathed life into Adam.  This was essentially the very first breath of life.

I am often asked how I do all that I do – manage a household, be a loving and devoted wife and mother, run a Girl Scout camp, volunteer at two schools, maintain a blog, website, and other social media, and write books.  Most people who know me know that I am a rather calm person.  It takes a lot to get me befuddled.  So what is my secret?  It is simple.  I trust in God for He is my strength through which all things are possible.  And I breathe.

Sometimes all I need is a calming breath in and out.  Sometimes I need several breaths and a prayer.  Other times, I need time and space to reconnect to myself and the world.  But at all times, I simply

– need

– to

– breathe.

I often tell my girls, when they are worried or beginning to panic, that a cleansing breath or two is all it takes to maintain or regain calm and put your life back into focus.  Whether it is a ten second intake and release of breath, an hour at Mass, or a two week vacation, the key is simple.  Whatever battles you’re fighting, roads you’re traveling, or mountains you’re climbing…

Just breathe.

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels.  Her first book, A Place to Call Home is in its second printing and may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com

Blessed With Mothers

I have been so very blessed in my life when it comes to mothers.  I have the best mother any girl could ever want.  When I was growing up, I knew that my mother was an authority who needed to be respected and obeyed, but I also knew that she was my friend.  From an early6893 age, my mother included me on her girls only weekends and day trips with the ladies.  I suppose it was because it was just the two of us in a house full of men, but I always looked at it as our time as friends and not as mother and daughter.  I called Mom’s friends by name, and they treated me like one of them.  In my teen years,I knew that I could talk to my mother about everything and that somehow she would understand.  As a wife and mother, my Mom is my rock, my go-to, my wise sage.  I don’t know how I could have gotten this far in life without her.

Add into the mix my wonderful aunts who have always treated me more like a sister than a niece.  I still remember going to DSC08911work with Aunt Pinky on Take Your Daughter To Work Day when I was very little.  And I’ll never forget the road trip to the Pennsylvania outlets with Aunt Debbie when I was about 13.  On those rare occasions when I needed advice from someone other than my mother, Aunt Debbie was my confidant.  Even when she told me things I didn’t want to hear, I valued her opinion and still do.  When I was younger, I always knew that if, heaven forbid, something happened to my own mother, I had wonderful aunts who would be the mothers I needed.

Mike and Ashley's wedding5 (21)-001Of course, I know that all of those women are the amazing mothers, friends, and women they are because of my most beloved and cherished grandmother.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her.  She was everything a woman should be.  She was kind, nurturing, smart, courageous, and spent most of her life taking care of others.  I was so blessed to have her in my life for 37 years and for my children to have known her.  I still say that when I grow up, I want to be just like Gram.

IMG_0052_6_1You would think that I was blessed enough to have my sainted mother, my heroic grandmother, and my remarkable aunts, but no, God continued to bless me with a wonderful Godmother who has always loved me like I am her own daughter.  Though we don’t see each other often, I know that she is always there for me, and I can’t wait to see her this summer.  And I am further blessed with a mother-in-law upon whom I can always count.  We’ve all heard horror stories, and I DSC00228know  some people who have lived them, about dealing with mothers-in-law.  Well, let me assure you, the reason everyone else complains  about theirs is because I got the best one out there.  I know she is always there for me, and I hope she knows I am there for her as well.

So this Sunday, as you honor your mother, I will honor my mother and all of the women in my life who made me the person I am today.  Happy Mother’s Day to you all.  I love you.

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels.  Her first book, A Place to Call Home may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com