Tag Archives: inspiration

Real Life Heroes

A romance novel would not be a romance novel without a larger-than-life hero. It doesn’t matter what the sub-genre is – suspense, paranormal, space opera or contemporary. If the plot includes romance, the hero is willing to risk it all and usually does.

Alpha male heroes are making a comeback –  albeit with a few tweaks to the strong, authoritative male of the early 70’s. Today’s romance readers still enjoy their alpha males but  like pairing  them with  equally strong heroines. No more forced sexual encounters on poor, unsuspecting virgins who, for whatever reason, ended up married to a brute. More often than not, today’s heroines are just as passionate and sexually aware as their heroes, and can hold their own when it comes to kicking ass and taking names. Personally, I like it when my main characters are competitive. It creates good chemistry and can be the basis for some fun dialogue.

As readers, we expect “extraordinary” when it comes to characters.  But that’s in a romance novel or  movie.

We pass real life heroes every day, often overlooking them because we never take the time to dig beneath their modesty and discover the extraordinary feats they’ve accomplished.

Take Steve, for example, a man I met through my plant merchandising job. Steve is a store employee, not a vendor like me. He works hard, has a great attitude, exhibits good customer service and is always willing to lend a hand. To look at Steve, you’d think he was cruising toward retirement with not a care in the world. He’s talks about his wife and family with great affection, enjoys his job, and shares a lot of humorous stories with co-workers. Steve’s a good guy. The neighbor and friend everyone wants to have.

I almost missed the opportunity to meet Steve. His life hasn’t been easy. Not long ago, when he was a career man with a phone service provider, Steve was diagnosed with some serious health issues. He waited over two and a half years for a liver transplant and at one point, was told to get his affairs in order.

Today Steve looks robust and healthy. He has a warm heart and a compassionate soul. You’d never know he spent several years battling for his life unless he told you. He overcame what could have been a debilitating adversity and now serves as an inspiration for the rest of us.

People like Steve make me realize everyday heroes are the real thing. They’re not a character in a fictional story. They seldom have “dark, compelling eyes”,  a “ruggedly handsome face” or the “taut, muscular limbs” of a story book hero.

Sometimes they’re disguised as a plant specialist . . . or a rancher . . .  or a construction superintendent. But almost always, they serve as an example for the rest of us to follow.

BLOOM WHERE YOU’RE PLANTED

Sometimes inspiration comes from places you least expect it.

I have a cyber friend named Tom. We’ve been email buddies for years, mostly exchanging jokes but occasionally passing a quick line to update the other on our activities. Tom and I have never met. We once attempted to put a face with a name but as fate would have it, our paths failed to connect. At least not physically. I still consider Tom one of my best friends. A kind soul with a good heart and a zest for life.

On the downside, because of Tom, I’m an addict. He’s introduced me to something I can’t resist. It’s too powerful, consuming my days . . . and my nights. I’m helpless, an unwitting victim of the drug called “Words With Friends”. Someday I’ll make up my mind to beat it, but I’m not ready for recovery yet. Not til I win a few more games.

Tom and I  recently had a text conversation where I admitted DH and I might end up staying in North Carolina. Or more probably closer to the coast in South Carolina since that state is kinder to retirees and offers lower property taxes. Now this would be of little consequence if it were not for the fact that Tom and his family are living my dream in Arizona. Just saying the name makes me sigh with contentment. Arizona. Arizona. Arizona. Ah, did you feel that? A Zen moment.

I lived there during another life (ten+  years ago) and promised myself I would die there. My children know the box canyon where they are to scatter my ashes, although at the rate of recent construction, my ashes will probably fall into someone’s backyard. Still, the memories call like a Pied Piper, reminding me that I once resided in God’s country.

So as I was bemoaning my fate, Tom uttered those four little words that completely altered my perspective. “Bloom where you’re planted.”

How many of us go through life living in the future world of “someday when” instead of embracing the here and now? How many are so fixated on a plan or goal that they fail to recognize it’s outdated? The only way to survive with any sense of enjoyment is to be flexible. To bend in the wind. Or as the lyrics go in that wonderful song, The Gambler, by Kenny Rogers, “know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run.”

So starting today, I’m going to sit in the sun, water my roots, and bloom where I’m planted . . . no matter where that turns out to be.