Dear Saint Rita . . . .

This week I fell to my knees and begged for success. My heart dream of writing has been exhausting at this stage as I pray for my fame and fortune. I even contemplated sharing the Saint Rita Novena someone posted online—Share this novena and in an hour Saint Rita will grant you your miracle. I always loathed the bribery involved in such an idea. I would yell out to myself that this is not the way the miracle thing works. To think, I almost pushed the send button. There would have been a lot of extra Hail Mary’s for that and sadly I already have too many to say for real dilemmas.

It’s just not that easy, nor is it smart to have success land directly on your kneeler. (Although Saint Rita, it sure would be nice just once, and maybe this little mention of your name would count.)

So I was moping and then an angel sent her inspirational blog post. This week Demi Stevens suggested tiny, consistent steps toward your goal that can be more valuable than a huge leap. I read her story of success—proof the path to overcome a mountain in life is best climbed on a steady path.

The nice thing about showing up for church each week is that it is a quiet time to think and talk to God and make a weekly plan for strength to move on. It is like that in front my computer. I struggle with numerous projects on my desk that pile higher than the steeple at St. Mary’s. By the end of the week, I hide from the office, instead typing on my faithful iPad Mini.

I attack bookwork, organize my diary entries, and work on placing notes in my novels. I read blogs from my mentors like Debbie Herbert, Demi Stevens, and Paula Munier. I might even receive divine inspiration from Saint Rita or whoever is the patron Saint that week.

I organize, manage, and write in little steps. I zero in on my writing success. Remember, zero in and be fearless at your writing.

Alas, Demi is right. Two years ago googling Alicia Stephens Martin might have produced Alicias like Keyes or Silverstone. Today there is a whole page of Alicia Stephens Martin successes—a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and even published articles and posts. I think I won’t ask for the miracle just for the strength and energy to keep going.

I hope this helps you in your quest…

Celebrate Writing Mentors

On Sunday mornings, I look forward to reading Demi Stevens’ blog, Year of the Book. It seems lately, they have been secret messages directed at me. Demi is quite a woman and I feel my meeting her has been magical. I have watched her grow her indie publishing company in the last five years with a persistent vigor. Her formula has become a roadmap for anyone on the journey to be a successful writer.

As I struggle on my own writing mission, sometimes my goal seems impossible. My daily grind as a solo mom, sixty-hour weeks as a busy salon owner/stylist, a substitute Cosmetology teacher on Mondays, and just plain paying bills is a struggle. My dream of publishing seems too hard, and too much work. But as I watch Demi and find her words inspiring each week, I have been able to forge ahead. Sometimes out of sheer guilt because I told her a project would be in her email-lap by a certain date…

So today, my writing day, when I am tired and it would be easy not to pick up the pen, Demi once again sent me a secret message. It was about celebrating your accomplishments. I cynically thought, What do I have to celebrate? But on the look back, in the last three years, when I became a serious writer at the age of fifty, I have published numerous articles in magazines, finished one novel, Spurred to Justice, which should be in print and on shelves by June 2018, just emailed Demi my second novel, Friday Blues, for another round of her tooth-picking edits, and today working on the first draft of my third novel.

While I might not be in the money (in fact there is no money yet) from my writing, I am indeed closer and might have reason to celebrate as I pick away to build a platform. Maybe in another year, well who knows.

I realize I could not do it without Demi from Year of the Book. I am no editor… just a source of creative dreams with a carousel of stories in my mind. But I do indeed have something to celebrate! I suggest anyone in search of a writing dream, should reach out to Demi Stevens of Year of the Book.

Pennsylvania Native Protects U.S.Border

Below is a partial interview. Enjoy my latest article in full at eastcoastequestrian.net

 

Pennsylvania Native Protects U.S. Border – on Horseback
Alicia Stephens-Martin – January 2018

At age fifty-five, I’ve finally developed the confidence to reach for my dreams. So when I meet a young woman who already stands out in her career, with self-assurance combined with a love for horses, I am instantly curious.

I had the privilege to interview Katie Griffith Clare, who lost her mother while too young, with whom she shared a love of horses, and knew she wanted to make a difference. Today Katie connects all three, patrolling the U.S. border. Katie and her steadfast steed are the living wall—the one President Trump would find almost impossible to build of brick and mortar because of terrain.

In some border areas a wall would be impractical, but horses can easily journey. According to Katie, horses even help by detecting sounds and smells, keen only to the animal.

We met at a September horse show in Lancaster County, far from where Katie, a native of southern Pennsylvania, works on the southwest border in San Diego, California. She graduated from Eastern High School and attended Alvernia College in Reading, PA. Nothing about her demeanor revealed her ability to handle a gun, withstand days on the range, or capture illegals. She simply smiled from her borrowed mount, happy to see all her missed friends.

Katie serves as a United States Border Patrol Agent—a federal position. In her words, her job is to detect and prevent illegal aliens, terrorists, and terrorist weapons from entering the U.S., and prevent illegal trafficking of people and contraband. She and her fellow agents are the uniformed law enforcement arm of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. With over 21,000 agents, the U.S. Border Patrol is one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the U.S. Not until after this interview when I researched the Border Patrol did I realize the daunting task horse and rider face every day. . . .

 

Please read the the interview at east coast equestrian.net

 

 

 

Katie inspired me to do more research. On a typical day the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) screens over a million international visitors, processes 74,000 truck, rail, and sea containers, seizes nearly 5 tons of illicit drugs, and apprehends more than 1000 individuals for possible criminal activity. The CBP is responsible for patrolling 6,000 miles of Mexican and Canadian borders and 2,000 miles of coastline according to their website. Agents like Katie and her four-legged partner work diligently, without recognition in all types of conditions.

To further appreciate what this team does for us every day, visit http://www.cbp.gov. You will even find buried deep in the career choices page a brown-haired girl. In Katie’s smile you can almost see her love of horse, career, and country.

Please enjoy the actual interview at the East Coast Equestrian Magazine

A Horsewoman of High Inspiration

Sonora Webster Carver

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Sonora Webster Carver was a female horse diver. She performed on the famous Steel Pier in Atlantic City from 1928 to 1942. Even though Sonora became blind from a dive going wrong in 1931, she amazingly continued to pursue her dream.  One of her most beloved horses was named “Red Lips”. Her story is told in one of my daughter’s favorite movies, “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken”. I suggest this movie to all who love good stories about inspirational women and horses.

Inspirational Woman and Hairdresser- Martha Matilda Harper (1857-1950)

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Read about an inspirational woman and hairdresser, Martha Matilda Harper(1857-1950)! Martha Matilda Harper was an immigrant, innovator, entrepreneur, and shrewd businesswoman. She boast many achievements; developed and marketed a hair tonic, pioneered the beauty industry to new heights, became the first franchiser by sharing her Harper Methods, followed by a multitude of disciples called Harperites and eventually responsible for 500 salons across the world – decades before Ray Kroc franchised McDonalds. (She was a cougar, too- marrying a man 20 years younger!) Yet, Martha Matilda Harper was swept away, buried deep underneath America’s history. How did one single woman persuade so many Harperites to assembly and adhere to her codes, to soar to their own identity by influencing them and the public that women could be independent and successful. Read the article in PBA Progress at http://www.probeauty.org

Blessed are the Women who Endured!

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I think that it is important to remember women before us who suffered great pains at the hands of a patriarchal society. Women, such as, those who were forced to believe their babies were in  “Limbo”  if they died before being baptized. According to the church, these babies never made the journey to heaven. Really? Or as for this Victorian woman who was posed with her deceased child- a popular form of photography during this time period. I think of these women often, and the hardships they endured.