Member Feature: Christine Amoroso

Editor's note: Each month we'll be featuring a member of the H&L Writes community so that we can all get to know our writers better. We're excited to "meet" all of you and cheer you on with your writing goals. Give a warm welcome to Christine, our featured member this month.

Who I am:

Hello. My name is Christine. I am a daughter, sister, mother, auntie, Nonna, and loyal friend. I have been an accountant, teacher, and elementary school principal. These days, I proudly call myself a writer. No matter the role I play in life there has been one consistent thread: I am a determined dreamer.

I grew up at the beach in beautiful Southern California. A year and a half ago, I quit a job I loved, sold everything I owned, and moved to Italy for a year to explore my heart and soul, and to write my memoir. I returned this summer with my completed first draft and have spent the last few months editing and working on next steps toward publication! I'm surprised every day as the impact of this life-changing journey continues to unfold. I see people, the world, and myself with fresh eyes and perspective.

Like all of you, my life has been full of ups and downs, twists and turns. I made a significant change in my life when I decided to stop believing life happened to me. Today I make life happen for me, making conscious decisions about my path and responding to life's curve balls with grace. It's not easy and I'm not always successful but I keep the bar raised high.

When I'm not buried in the editing process, I write a blog and am a regular contributor to Holl and Lane Magazine. Sarah and Mia's belief in me as a writer encouraged me to write an entire book. I do my best to pay it forward by encouraging all the writers in my life. Keep on writing!!! Your story is powerful.

What I write about:

I write about life and love, the beauty and the heartache, and the parts that are hard to talk about. I tell the truth even when it hurts. I believe sharing our stories makes us see how much more we are alike than different. We belong to each other.

My favorite piece of writing by me:

Here is an excerpt from "Endings and Beginnings…" (click here to read the whole post):

I chose not to write about him, us, our relationship, during my time in Italy. A bit of my life I kept to myself, private, pure and sweet. We had an understanding, or so I thought. For me, a year of writing and adventure,. For him, life would continue in Los Angeles with a huge career change, an adventure of another kind. He told me he would visit me, perhaps in springtime. I burned up cyberspace with text messages, photographs and videos of the beautiful sights and sounds I experienced. Not every day, once a week or so, secure in the days between. I loved him from far away, ending my days in small cafes, writing postcards filled with dreams and clear intentions.

He didn’t make it to Italy. His first year heading up a company in a new industry, it was impossible to get away. No worries, I’d be home soon. As my return grew nearer, he seemed farther away. He texted less frequently, really only responding to what I had sent him. I chalked it up to his incredibly hectic work schedule, the time difference and my own insecurity. I shook off the doubts. On my birthday I was reassured, “Happy birthday, my love . . .” He loved me. Why had I worried?

Where you can find me online:

-My blog, Bare Naked in Public: https://barenakedinpublic.com/
-On social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Bare-Naked-In-Public-618855301545223/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/barenakedinpublic/

Member Feature: Jen Collins

Editor's note: Each month we'll be featuring a member of the H&L Writes community so that we can all get to know our writers better. We're excited to "meet" all of you and cheer you on with your writing goals. Give a warm welcome to Jen, our featured member this month.

Who I am:

Hi there! I'm Jen. I live near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I have been married for 18 years to my own personal superhero named Mike. He saves the day over and over again. I have two children. Kalea is 12 and Kade is 11. They are the coolest kids ever! I am the daughter of the best Mom in the whole world and my Dad who watches over me from heaven. I am blessed with a close circle of awesome friends.

I owned child care centers in my former life and worked as an early childhood trainer for many years and I loved every minute. It was my passion. Then, I was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer and my perspective changed in an instant. I let my businesses go to focus on my family and friends and all the little things that matter. I don't know how much time I have left but I am going to enjoy every minute.

I am an avid reader and I bake the best chocolate chip cookies ever. Outside of writing and baking; l love calligraphy, morning walks, being outside, and making homemade cards and gifts. I do not love crowds, miserable people, or drama of any kind. I love rainy days as much as blue-sky-and-puffy-white-cloud kinds of days. I love hot tea, flowers, and all things chocolate and peanut butter.

What I write about:

I write an inspirational blog about navigating life with a terminal illness. I write about the life lessons I have learned and about enjoying every moment. I write about my faith and my family. Outside of the blog, I write short stories and poetry. I also freelance for my local paper. I would love to write a novel one day, but my patience and my attention span need improvement if that is going to happen.

My favorite piece of writing by me:

Here is an excerpt from "Look, Mom" (click here to read the whole post):

We took a trip to Lake Erie this weekend, squeezing the last drops out of our fleeting summer. My kids were older now and invited friends along for the trip. They took a break from the water to build in the sand. I watched them from my beach chair, working together to dig a deep hole and build a moat around it. Their structures were more sophisticated these days. My daughter was nearing 13 and I was surprised that she readily joined in building with her brother and their friends. She didn’t enjoy doing much other than hanging out in her room these days.

“Look, Mom, …” my daughter said happily waving to get my attention and then pointing to the wall she built. I smiled and told her it looked great and commended them all on their awesome job. I looked at my daughter. That familiar quiet smile momentarily flashed across her face, the one that made her eyes light up; then she looked away, but not so quickly that I missed it …

Where you can find me online:

-My blog, LifeConfetti: https://lifeconfetti.blog/

Member Feature: Joni Leimgruber

Editor's note: Each month we'll be featuring a member of the H&L Writes community so that we can all get to know our writers better. We're excited to "meet" all of you and cheer you on with your writing goals. Give a warm welcome to Joni, our featured member this month.

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Who I am:

I live just outside Sydney in the beautiful Hawkesbury region with my husband and our three children. Having journeyed through depression, marriage breakdown and restoration and some of the other curve balls life can throw, I'm passionate about cheering others on and encouraging them to embrace themselves and their story.

What I write about:

The words which have shaped me as a writer were penned by the late Harper Lee in To Kill a Mockingbird: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

As kids, we were raised on this quote and in a world of fear and uncertainty, I believe it is as vital as ever.

I'm midway through writing my first book - 'Haven: encouraging empathy, empowering action' - which is exciting! Here in Australia we've struggled (and in many cases, failed) to be the safe haven so many are needing.

In an effort to climb into the skin of those who've come to Australia seeking safety (refugees, asylum seekers etc.), I set about getting to know them and their stories, and to find ways that we as individuals can improve the situation. The book is scheduled for release in late 2019.

My favorite piece of writing by me:

Here is an excerpt from "Her Story: The Tragedy of Her Lost Story" (click here to read the whole post):

I was scrolling through Instagram when I saw her. Between photos of stylised homes and pouting selfies, she lay there in the ocean and there was nothing I could do to stop it from happening. There was nothing I could do to stop the closing of her book, the ticking down of her time, the coming of her end too soon.

But she made it so far, I kept saying. She made it so far.

She left her home, her bed and kitchen. She left her community – family and friends left behind perhaps. She travelled over land for who knows how long, through who knows what trials. And she made it to the shore.

She made it so far.

Where you can find me online:

-My blog, Words By Joni: https://wordsbyjoni.wordpress.com/
-On social media:
Facebook: http://facebook.com/wordsbyjoni
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wordsbyjoni/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/joni_leimgruber

Member Feature: Barb Torgerson

Editor's note: Each month we'll be featuring a member of the H&L Writes community so that we can all get to know our writers better. We're excited to "meet" all of you and cheer you on with your writing goals. Give a warm welcome to Barb, our featured member this month.

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WHO I AM

Hi, I'm Barb. I am a psychotherapist, lover of humans, and I am curious about the human condition. I love writing but had not done much "formal" writing until joining the H&L Writes community. I'm also a mom of 2 amazing kids (27 & 29), have been married 32+ years to an amazing man, and now have a 4-month-old granddaughter. One last tidbit to be vulnerable; I also have bipolar disorder and PTSD and sometimes struggle to go to work. But when I get there my passion for what I do takes over and I'm so glad I get to work with my incredible clients. 

WHAT I WRITE ABOUT

So far, a little of everything. I want to write about things that will help people navigate their internal world, learning to love every part of themselves and have compassion for themselves.

MY FAVORITE PIECE OF WRITING BY ME

Here is an excerpt from "Tick Tock Time: A Cautionary Tale" (click here to read the whole post):

He is fighting against time. Time is winning. Bad knees, a heart problem, hearing aids, Parkinson’s. He is losing physical strength as he ages and this means a loss of control. He has relied on control all his life.

He started two well-known businesses and then, after selling them upon retirement, mentored young entrepreneurs. They adored him and he reveled in their adoration. Success was his goal in every area of his life and he thought he had achieved it. He believed in himself and trusted his abilities to perform at the highest levels in both his professional life and his personal life.

In all this, he performed a great sleight of hand on himself, the perception that he was in control of everything. Now time has found out his trick and revealed it to him. He is not able to control everything. It is an incredible shock. He is angry about this revelation and tells everyone he knows, “Don’t ever get old, it is terrible.”

WHERE YOU CAN FIND ME ONLINE

-My blog, Salted Compassion:  https://saltedcompassion.wordpress.com/
-My website, Torgerson Therapy:  https://torgersontherapy.com/

Member Feature: Rebecca Rice

Editor's note: Each month we'll be featuring a member of the H&L Writes community so that we can all get to know our writers better. We're excited to "meet" all of you and cheer you on with your writing goals. Give a warm welcome to Rebecca, our featured member this month.

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WHO I AM

Hi, my name is Rebecca. I fell in love with stories as a kid and have never been able to recover. When I'm not writing I can be found baking, perfecting my lawn game skills, and spending time with my favorite people.
 

WHAT I WRITE ABOUT

I write to seek out womanhood and femininity, truth and vulnerability, and to be a vehicle of encouragement to other young women along the way.
 

MY FAVORITE PIECE OF WRITING BY ME

Here is an excerpt from "What Kind of Woman do I Want to Be?" (click here to read the whole post):

In recent years I have been asking myself, “What kind of woman do you want to be?” At first, I had no idea, but the more I thought about it the more I realized I had a very good idea of the kind of woman I wanted to be.

I was raised to respect the women in the Bible, women who laid their lives down to the Lord. They seemed docile. They lost their luster, their scandal, fire, passion, and risk after being told so many times. I lost sight of the heroic women in search of a moral and lesson.  Mistakenly, I thought shells were whole women. Esther was no more than a gimmick.
 

WHERE YOU CAN FIND ME ONLINE

On my blog, The Hydrangea Project: https://thehydrangeaproject.com/