Samara O'Shea

The Dumbest Thing I Ever Heard…Is True

July 16th, 2018

It was December 2013 when I submitted the following essay as a guest blog for a website called Indie Book Week. Recently I clicked on the link and IBW was no more. Websites come and they go. C’est la vie. I’d like the essay to live somewhere, so I post it here.

The Dumbest Thing I Ever Heard…Is True

In early 2010 I attended an event called “Eat, Love, Write.” It was a fundraiser featuring bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert and her sister Catherine Gilbert Murdock as the keynote speakers. Catherine is a successful author in her own right—specializing in young adult novels. During the question and answer session, someone asked, “How do I get an agent?” Catherine began to respond practically but then she interrupted herself and said, “Focus on the writing. If a book is meant to be published it will find a way.” I rolled my eyes. If a book is meant to be published it will find a way. Don’t get me wrong; I am an advocate of everything happening for a reason, but come on! Agents don’t go knocking on doors asking if you happen to have a manuscript hanging around. You have to take your written work to the world. At the time, I dismissed it as one of the dumbest things I’d ever heard. Read the rest of this entry »

Rock the Vote

July 1st, 2018

I, shamefully, did not vote in the 2014 midterms. I will not make that mistake again!

“For those who face the future in fear after Wednesday, there are no easy answers — but there is a clear duty. Do not for a moment underestimate the importance of getting out and voting in November. Four years ago, only 36 percent of Americans cast ballots in the midterm elections. Had more people showed up, the Senate may well have remained in Democratic control, Mitch McConnell would not be the majority leader and Judge Merrick Garland would now be Justice Garland. In the days and months ahead, remember this.”

Newspaper Announcement

June 15th, 2018

I did an old-fashioned thing: Got married! Kidding. The old-fashioned part was submitting a wedding announcement to the local paper. Who does that anymore?! Meeeeeee =).

Newspaper text at the bottom of this post.

We had a small wedding (some might call it a microwedding) with only 14 guests. This was easy and difficult. The easy part is relieving yourself of the stress that comes with planning a large wedding. The difficult part is not sharing the day with extended family and friends. This week I have been mailing wedding announcements to my nearest and dearest. It’s been ages since I took on a mailing project of this size!

Newspaper text:

Samara O’Shea and Derek Nash were married May 5 at St. Mary’s, Hamilton Village located on the University of Pennsylvania campus. This is the same church where the bride’s parents married in April 1979. The Rev. Mariclair Partee Carlsen performed the ceremony. The Episcopal service was complemented by sounds of the Celtic harp played by Martha Clancy. Following the service, 14 guests celebrated at The Wayne Hotel. The day’s events were captured by Andrea Krout Photography.

Ms. O’Shea, 38, is a licensed social worker currently employed with Central Behavioral Health in Norristown. She is a mobile therapist helping clients diagnosed with serious mental illness manage chronic physical illness. She graduated from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, and received a master’s degree in social work from Temple University.

The bride is the daughter of Dennis and Carol O’Shea of Newtown Square, PA. The bride’s father has worked at Widener University for 39 years, currently serving as grounds supervisor. The bride’s mother is a retired teacher from Gloucester County Institute of Technology.

Mr. Nash, 34, is a senior software engineer at Envestnet, a wealth management firm, in Berwyn, PA, where he focuses on java development. The groom graduated with a dual degree in mathematics and computer science from Drexel University, where he also played on the ice hockey team.

The groom is the son of Barbara Nash of Pine Grove, PA, and the late Gregory Nash. The groom’s mother is a retired teacher from Spring-Ford Area School District. His father was the maintenance supervisor at Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Nash’s 5-year-old son from a previous marriage, Dominic, served as ring bearer.

The couple met in November 2013 through the dating site Coffee Meets Bagel.

Addendum For Those Who Read Loves Me…Not: We were in the final stages of editing the book in late fall 2013 when I met Derek. I hadn’t dated anyone for little over 2 years. The guy in the book with the pseudonym Frank was the last person I had gone out with. I felt writing the book was what I needed to do before I could indulge a quality relationship. As it turned out, the Universe agreed. The past was where it belonged: On paper. Derek was my date to the book launch in January 2014 and the rest, as they say, is history. Maybe I’ve got a book about maintaining requited love in me …

“Love is possible only if two persons communicate with each other from the center of their existence, hence if each one of them experiences himself from the center of his existence. Only in this ‘central experience’ is human reality, only here is aliveness, only here is the basis for love. Love, experienced thus, is a constant challenge; it is not a resting place, but a moving, growing, working together; even when there is harmony or conflict, joy or sadness, is secondary to the fundamental fact that two people experience themselves, rather than by fleeing from themselves. There is only one proof for the presence of love: the depth of the relationship, and the aliveness and strength in each person concerned; this is the fruit by which love is recognized.”

~ Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving

The Surprisingly Simple Self-Esteem Booster

April 15th, 2018

After reading The 5 Love Languages earlier this year, I took the Discover Your Love Language quiz. As a result, I receive emails from the website. I kept meaning to unsubscribe from said emails until I saw this one about apologizing. It’s spot on! Our 45th President could use this advice. Sharpen those apology letter pencils!

“Did you know that low self-esteem can make it difficult to apologize? When we aren’t confident in who we are, an apology seems like a sign of weakness. But the truth is, people with high self-esteem more readily apologize, and apologizing can actually enhance your self-esteem. People generally respect a person more who is willing to take responsibility for his/her own failures. As people begin to respect and admire you more and more, then you start to feel better about yourself.

On the other hand, those who try to hide or excuse wrong behavior will almost always lose the respect and affirmation of others. A sincere apology is always a sign of maturity, not a sign of weakness. Apology opens the door to forgiveness. And forgiveness means that we can continue to grow in our relationship. It’s never too late to learn to apologize.”

The Good Life

March 30th, 2018

“I believe it will have become evident why, for me, adjectives such as happy, contented, blissful, enjoyable, do not seem quite appropriate to any general description of this process I have called the good life, even though the person in this process would experience each one of these at the appropriate times. But adjectives which seem more generally fitting are adjectives such as enriching, exciting, rewarding, challenging, meaningful. This process of the good life is not, I am convinced, a life for the faint-fainthearted. It involves the stretching and growing of becoming more and more of one’s potentialities. It involves the courage to be. It means launching oneself fully into the stream of life. Yet the deeply exciting thing about human beings is that when the individual is inwardly free, he chooses as the good life this process of becoming.”

~ Carl R. Rogers, On Becoming a Person: A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy

The Language of Love

February 15th, 2018

I post this out of love for all the men and women who find themselves in toxic relationships:

“A doormat is an inanimate object. You can wipe your feet on it, step on it, kick it around, or whatever you like. It has no will of its own. It can be your servant but not your lover. When we treat our spouses as objects, we preclude the possibility of love. Manipulation by guilt (“If you were a good spouse, you would do this for me”) is not the language of love. Coercion by fear (“You will do this or you will be sorry”) is alien to love. No person should ever be a doormat. We may allow ourselves to be used, but we are in fact creatures of emotion, thoughts, and desires. And we have the ability to make decisions and take action. Allowing oneself to be used or manipulated by another is not an act of love. It is, in fact, an act of treason. You are allowing him or her to develop inhumane habits. Love says, “I love you too much to let you treat me this way. It is not good for you or me.”

~ Gary Chapman, The 5 Love Languages

The Importance of Making Mistakes

January 4th, 2018

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”

~ Neil Gaiman