Posts tagged ‘writing’

May 13, 2013

Magic Around the Edges

Life is a fairytale

Morning, Friends. It’s Brooke, here. How many of you live an inspired life? Or maybe a life with magic around the edges? And do you choose to make your world something special, or do you simply honor the glimmers that you see? Of course, you don’t have to be all “writery” about it, although that’s my personal lens. Moving through your day with brightness means you are living with joy, anticipating the best of things and trailing a hopeful spirit in your wake. And people notice this! They can see the sparkle you leave as you brush alongside them.

sunset glitter

I’ve lived my whole life nestled on the edge of reality and unreality, devouring books and ideas, feeding the furnace that is my imagination. That’s the beauty of experiencing life through the written word—you can slip into someone else’s skin, carry on in another world, fall in love many times, have your heart broken hopefully fewer times, and find yourself again at the end of everything forever changed. One of my favorite analogies comes from Stephen King, when he says that he always carries a book with him because he never knows when he’ll need an escape hatch. And I totally get it! This kind of escape makes the tedium of life bearable.

Fantasy street signs

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this existed?

However, literary highways are not the only ways to travel. I often go about my business, appearing normal and on task while my mind wanders and skips along nearby. It’s always scanning the periphery, searching for interesting tidbits or trails of glitter that might lead to an epiphany of some sort. I like to think that there’s another world tucked behind the façade of the one we navigate every day, and every now and then, I catch a glimpse of “something else.” This kind of daydreaming, usually frowned upon by highly logical people and most bosses, helps me get through the dailyness of life reasonably well. I mean, I show up to my life–I pay my bills, go to meetings, teach classes, see clients, and try my best to be responsible and plan ahead. But if you catch me between these activities, you’ll often see me gazing into the middle distance, wondering “What if . . . ?” If you examine the course of human history, you’ll see that this very question has set fire to controversy, challenged deeply held perceptions, and repeatedly altered life as we know it. And thank goodness!

I passionately believe that life is meant to be lived, that we are not just marking time. That everyone deserves to have dignity, love, respect, and meaning in their lives, regardless of circumstance. Our reality and our joy is what we make it. And we are only bound by what we imagine is true. So, why not believe anything is possible? Why can’t you blow past any goal you set for yourself? Why let others decide for you what is true and valuable? My contrarian spirit has always balked at someone telling me why I should like this or do that—I want to figure this out on my own! But to stay on the right side of polite society, I listen graciously and smile, all the while running these suggestions through my internal works and listening for the resulting “ping” of yes or no. Over the years, however, I’ve tried to learn from others’ experiences, those wiser than myself. I pray often for guidance. And I gather clues incessantly, clues left like breadcrumbs by an invisible hand. Is this little piece important? Well, it tickles my soul and makes my heart skip a beat. Yes, I’ll keep it. Then the edges of my life shimmer once again, and I know I’ve chosen wisely.

May you have a magical and blessed week!


When in doubt

January 25, 2013

For Our New Friends . . . Hello!

Mongoose heelo

Happy Friday to our Healthy Housewives family! My name is Brooke Berryhill, and I am your go-to gal for Health and Wellness as well as Animals (specifically, Pets). I’m really excited to be a part of this group of amazing women—each of us is blazing our own trail in healthy living as we lift each other up and hopefully inspire you along the way! I’ll share a little bit of my story, and I look forward to hearing from you as well.

I’m an East Texas girl, having grown up in the beautiful Piney Woods of Longview. If you have had the good fortune to pass through Longview, you’ll appreciate how very lovely it is. I went on to Texas A&M University, where my love affair with iced coffee drinks and staying up very late really took hold. Then I was blessed to meet my husband, John, and life became even sweeter. We’ve been married for 14 years, he makes me laugh every day, and thankfully he shares my love of animals, P.F. Chang’s, and America’s Next Top Model—really, what else could you ask for in a husband?

My love

My love

I graduated with a degree in English and proceeded to spend the next 10 years as a copyeditor, providing the grammatical spit and polish to everything that I could get my hands on—science textbooks, advertising copy, medical test-prep, and romance novels (my favorite!). Then, after spending years combing the written word, I felt called to nurture people more than manuscripts and became a licensed massage therapist. And what a beautiful gift massage therapy has been for me! As a therapist, I can provide a nurturing and safe place for people to rest, to heal, and to feel more peaceful than when they walked in. I also love educating my clients on how to take better care of themselves. As the Wellness Director at a lovely retirement community, I get to do this every day as I create brand-new health and wellness programs for our staff and residents.

Pretty Lucy

Pretty Lucy

Something else that brings me (and you too, I hope) great joy are animals. I love all animals! Now, that doesn’t mean I’m going to rush out and hug a snake or anything—but I will be the one rushing past you to the nearest door as I rescue that scary spider or tiny pink gecko (by holding a well-placed cup and sturdy envelope, of course)! My love of animals is deep and abiding, and it led me to become a vegetarian many years ago. I strive to live compassionately toward people and animals, and I’m always looking for fabulous products and fashions that are created cruelty free. Now, truth be told, if I could shelter and protect all the animals in the world, I would. But since my house is not quite big enough for that, I will introduce you to my current furry family members: Lucy (snow-white, very smart, snuggly, and has lots to say);  Tiki (brown-ticked tabby, ultra affectionate, very mischievous, and wheels-off crazy); and Bit Bit (small golden-orange tabby, Tiki’s brother/partner in crime, unbelievably sweet, and cute as a bug).

Happy New Year to Tiki

Happy New Year to Tiki

Bit Bit wants more toys!

Bit Bit wants more toys!

That’s my story for now. I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and see you again next week!


November 10, 2012

Anybody Up for a Little NaNoWriMo? What?!?

Hi, there, HH Family and Friends! This is Brooke with a question for you—how many of you have ever wanted to write a novel? You know, a real, honest-to-goodness piece of fictional genius that will show the world how truly clever you are and give insight into the human condition unlike anything that’s been published before? This lofty goal seems relatively unattainable and is pretty much b.s. anyway. But if you really love writing, have a burning desire to write a book, but lack the motivation to put pen to paper or even rear to chair to get it done, I have a solution for you. . . NaNoWriMo!

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, a literary phenomenon that began quietly 14 years ago and has since spread all over the world. Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo, and some friends were casting about for something to do, so they decided, “Hey, let’s each write an entire book! And let’s do it in only one month!” Although November is now the official month for the contest, the first NaNoWriMo began at 12:01AM on July 1, 1999, and ended promptly at 11:59PM on July 31, only 30 days later.  The group settled on a minimum of 50,000 words (175 pages) of completely new material to be finished by the end of the month—yikes! The careful preparation and dubious solemnity that normally surround the event of (cue angelic singing) Writing a Novel were mercilessly stomped out—just a crazy group of Gen X-ers wired on caffeine and junk food throwing good judgment, healthy living, and personal hygiene out the window, for a short while. And they did it! Well, a few of them anyway. The first group had 21 participants and 6 winners (winners: those celebrated few who reached 50,000 words by the stroke of midnight). Fast forward to 2011’s NaNoWriMo magical month of creation: 256, 618 participants and 36,843 winners—wow!

The breathtaking pace and severe time limit of this venture force extreme mental focus and stifle the soul-killing perfectionism inevitable to many creative pursuits. Because I often wrestle unsuccessfully with perfectionism and have a gnat’s ability to focus long-term, and because my dearest dream to write a book has to this point been unfulfilled, I’ve maintained a long, envious flirtation with NaNoWriMo. But I’ve never committed . . . until now. Eek!

Ok, my fellow closeted authors out there, here’s how it works: (from the NaNoWriMo website,

  • Write a 50,000-word (or longer!) novel, between November 1 and November 30.
  • Start from scratch. None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriMo draft (though outlines, character sketches, and research are all fine, as are citations from other people’s works).
  • Write a novel. We define a novel as a lengthy work of fiction. If you consider the book you’re writing a novel, we consider it a novel too!
  • Be the sole author of your novel. Apart from those citations mentioned two bullet-points up.
  • Write more than one word repeated 50,000 times.
  • Upload your novel for word-count validation to our site between November 25 and November 30.

Since its inception, this contest has spawned more than 500 chapters of members around the world, many of whom gather together each November in literary “block parties” or fall upon various Starbucks like locusts to bask in shared creative energy and sleep-deprived community. Over the years, NaNoWriMo has partnered with Room to Read, an international children’s literacy program, to build and outfit libraries for children around the world without access to reading resources. Another wonderful offshoot is the Young Writers Program, a NaNoWriMo challenge for kids ages 17 and younger. This program has been an enormous success, spreading across hundreds of classrooms, and by 2011, boasting an astonishing 50,000 young writers who participated!

For any of you who have harbored deep and unspoken yearnings to finally break free of yourself and get that #%&@ book written, I encourage you to check out NaNoWriMo ( and join in the fun ASAP! Yeah, November is rapidly unraveling, but panic and adrenaline can be your best friends—they’ve never let me down!

Good luck and blessings,


P.S. If you decide to take on this adventure in literary craziness, be sure to drop me a line at and let me know how you’re doing!