Category Archives: Family Life

What A Difference A Year Makes

It is hard for me to believe that a year has gone by like it has. So much has happened for me and yet, so much hasn’t yet and I’m still waiting on so much of it. And then there is so much that is going to be happening that I don’t even know where to begin to put all of this down.

Fair warning folks, this is going to be one of those “bear your soul” sort of posts. Likely to get someone personal, spiritual, and maybe even a little TMI. But I am going to write it anyway.

A year ago, I was unaware of the things happening in my own home. It seemed that things were just starting to come together for my ex and I in many ways. But there were issues. At the time I didn’t think that it was something we wouldn’t work through but, when he revealed that he was having an affair on the night before our fifth wedding anniversary, I knew it was over between us. He walked out the door to be with her and I got stuck trying to pick up the pieces.

October 6th would have made 6 years for us. Now, I’m in a sort of limbo having to come up with the extra money to pay costs that he agreed to pay in court if I want our divorce to be final so I can go on with my life. I also have to find a way to pay for the truck I was awarded in that divorce (that he was supposed to pay for) and the money to pay off a major debt incurred by his spending spree with his mistress (oh excuse me, his fiancee since the September before he left me). Just so glad I’m getting stuck with the bill for him to go and play sugar daddy. It isn’t like I ever got anything out of our marriage. Not sure why I should care, I’m actually quite accustomed to being used and dumped when I no longer serve a purpose. Don’t know why I expected that relationship to be any different. But, I digress.

I met Charles later in November as I was trying to get myself out and about to have some sort of social life again. I’d been a virtual hermit for most of the 6 years that my ex and I were together. I wanted that to change. So I started trying to make that happen. In December we started to date and in May we got engaged with the intention of being married in November. That won’t happen unless there is a miracle financially and we come into about $800.00. So, we’ll likely be sometime next summer getting married like we want. It will happen eventually though.

Here we are coming up on October 6th again. No doubt, that day will forever be etched in my mind. Now, however there will be a different reason for that.

When I was married to my ex, despite my own personal struggle with spirituality, I felt like I was forced into things I didn’t really agree with anymore. He was not Christian and my belief in something bigger than myself was a big source of issues in our relationship.

A couple weeks ago, I attended church services at a church that Charles and I started to attend while we were dating. I wanted to start going more regularly. And I have been going for a few weeks now, since we got the truck fixed. I realized that it was time for me to hand over this life and start fresh. I walked to the front and knelt at the altar and poured out everything weighing on me. I handed it over, asked to be forgiven of whatever I did in the past and for fighting against what I knew for so long. And I was saved that Sunday.

This Sunday, I take another step in my faith. I’m going to be baptized and then join the church. It is definitely a new chapter in my life. I’m closing the book on so many chapters that have been full of stress and unhappiness.

When I called the pastor to set the date for this, I didn’t even realize what Sunday was. It wasn’t until I called my mother with the news that she pointed out that Sunday will be the 6th of October. So, it will now stand out in my mind for another reason entirely and that, in my opinion, is a very good thing.

I have been contemplating this journey in my life for more than two years. I’ve spent years rebelling against what I knew to be right. Too many of those years have been in dark and shadowy places where I couldn’t begin to understand what I was doing most of the time. Going through this won’t make me perfect or any sort of judge of anyone else. I still believe that a person’s spiritual walk is between them and God (however they may view him). It isn’t about what I think of them or their life. But, it is about what I believe about my own life and how I choose to relate to God. Still, I know this decision is likely to cost me several relationships with people that I considered friends. While I will be sad to see them go, I understand that I have to do what is best for me and if they have to go on their own path without me, so be it. I’ll pray for them and wish them the best.

What a difference a year makes though. God has healed so many areas of my life already. He’s given me a peace about so many things. At the same time, he’s given me new challenges and ways to grow. I’m no longer unnerved at what my future holds. But, I do think I need to learn to listen to my gut more.

I know that this holiday season will be different for me. That’s a good thing. Somehow, everything has a little deeper meaning for me now. So, here’s to another year of growth, change, and life being incredible.

More On Indiegogo Perks

Family Secrets JournalI launched the Indiegogo campaign last week for the sequel to my novel The Secret of the Storm.

I’ll be honest with you readers, it has never been more important for me to have something work the way it is intended. I am on the verge of releasing a new series – more on that in another post – but, I don’t want the writing to stop there. I also want to be sure that I’m giving my reader base something it wants to read. So, the fact that there has been such positive feedback from it has made me take a second look.

I think that all art is, to some extent, crowdfunded. I mean, we create things, people will either like them and buy them or they won’t. This is true for all forms of artistic expression. But why crowdfund this particular project? It is simple really. I need funds up front.

Why do I need funds up front? Aside from living costs that I incur every month for myself and my family there are also the costs of hiring out some services to speed the process along. I need to hire a fresh pair of eyes to edit the book if I am going to produce it in a short amount of time. There is also the cost of a cover artist to design a catchy cover for these editions coming out. And then the costs of continuing to market it to a larger audience through advertising and a book tour to meet readers and sign books.

There are many ways that you can help me. Not every way requires a monetary contribution. The main way that you can help me is by spreading the word to others. It is only by directing people to the project that they will know about it.

Don’t want to tell them about it directly? Just direct them to my facebook fan page or my blog. There is more information there and I’ll be posting about it enough, making it visible, so that you don’t have to ask them to contribute.

BookCoverPreview1Every person who buys my book, tweets about it, shares it with their facebook followers, or even shares my work with a friend is contributing to the success of my life-long dream. Without people to read my work, what use is it to write? (Granted there is some personal satisfaction to seeing a story finished but, it is always better if someone reads it and lets you know that they enjoyed it.)

I don’t like asking people for help. I especially don’t like to ask people to shell out hard earned money and get nothing in return for it. With Indiegogo I was able to set up a number of perks. Some of these are as simple as pre-ordering your copy of the book in various states. There are ebook, paperback, and collectible hardback editions. Some will be signed, others won’t. But there are some other things that are limited and those are things I would like to make you aware of.

First of all, I am commissioning a jewelry artist to create only five necklaces from the first story. Each one will be numbered and a collector item. They will feature the keys to the chest that Ansen Walsingham left Elora. These will be available in the limited number of perks in the upper level ranges and will likely be part of a contest that I’ll be hosting here on the blog. The biggest perk of them all is at the highest level in which I’ll give up an afternoon of creation time to talk shop or whatever the person who claims that perk would like. Pick my brain about my process, publishing, writing, or life in general. If you’re in East Texas, I’ll make it a lunch on me. If you’re away it can be redeemed through Skype or other Video Chat service. It is a chance for the person making the most investment to get a behind the scenes look at everything that happened in the creation of, not only the sequel, but the whole series to that point.

The perks build upon one another. All those who contribute will be listed on the blog in a new page called “Made Possible By”. There will also be a special dedication and a list of sponsors in the book when it comes out as well. There will be emails sent to all the sponsors to let them know what stage I am in production. This will likely happen only once a month until it is released. But, the idea is to keep all those who invest in the project in the loop on how it is coming along and when they can expect to receive their books and other items. Sponsors will receive books before they are ever available to the public. I anticipate sometime in May 2014 will be a release day for the sequel. But, I also know that it could be sooner.

old file case Family Secrets#2Be a part of making a writer’s dream happen. Take a click over to the project, look at the perks and, if you can, consider donating. You’re not helping a publishing company pay a corporate executive here. You’re helping one woman put her life back together and tie up loose ends. You’re helping a family put food on the table and a mother at home with her daughter to focus on education and developing her character. You’ll be helping that child to go to dance classes and have what she needs to do well in her activities. You’ll be helping me to, in turn, help another struggling freelance editor and artist to provide for their families as well.

Gratitude

So many things are happening in my life that quiet moments to reflect on everything seem rare. Tonight, happens to be one of those nights. Charles is at work and I just put the munchkin down for the night. She and the pup are all tucked in and things are still for now. This is normally when I get some time in to write. Frankly, when you have a six year old at home who is super active, you don’t get a lot of time to sit still and just be. Add to that, the fact that she gets into anything and everything she can find and I spend more time cleaning up messes than I do anything else right now. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

thankfulI am so very blessed and grateful. For the first time in what feels like many years, I wake up happy to greet the day. You see, what many people may not realize about me is that for years I struggled to figure out who I was and how I fit into this big world. I explored many things, had questionable friends, put my family through a great deal of worry that now seems very unnecessary. I married someone I shouldn’t have, for reasons that I shouldn’t have allowed to affect that decision. I paid a hefty price for my naivety for about six years.

On the surface, I seemed confident and self assured. I bucked the system, fought my instincts, and tried to be a rebel for all that time. And I somehow managed to convince myself that it was all okay. In fact, I did such a good job of it that I was blindsided when that marriage fell apart. I didn’t think that I could go on from it or trust anyone again. Now, I’m thankful that it all happened. I did get something out of it. I got a relationship with a pretty awesome young woman who will always be a daughter to me and I got my little cat, Mariska.

291826_364783330281701_2094463518_nI think I got my self-confidence back because I had to fight my way through such a dark place. Before it was over I was depressed beyond anything that had happened to me emotionally since college and dealing with my biological father. Realizing that I married someone just like him was literally a slap in the face that jarred me into realizing what I needed to change about my outlook on things. I was tired of being emotionally beaten down. I realized that I had been abused during that time by someone who would never ever appreciate me as a person and that had to change. I was better off alone.

Then within a matter of two weeks everything was different. After a month and a half, I put myself out there to meet new people. It was time that I try to become more socialized again. I’d been a hermit for the better part of two years. It was then that I met Charles and a host of other people. And I’m convinced that people are put into our paths for a reason. I’m grateful for all the experiences I’ve had in my life with people from various places. They’ve all helped me to come out of my shell in many ways.

But right now, I am most grateful for the way things are turning out. I can run down a list of things that are going amazingly for me right now. I won’t. What I will say is that I finally have an amazing man in my life. I’m doing something that I love to do and have become what I truly believe I was born to be. 

It is true that things aren’t perfect but, they never are. There are always things that could be better. But, we have a roof over our heads as a family. We have food on our table every day. We’re ready to home school our little one starting in September. We wake up every morning just thankful to be together and have our own lives.

I am so thankful that things have changed like they have. My life is completely different from what it was a year ago. I am happier and that makes a huge difference in everything.

The Challenges Of The Writing Life

944e903479c324fa_Self_Motivation.xxlargeBeing a writer is not an easy way of life. Some people seem to think it is. They think we all sit around in our pajamas all day, sipping wine or a spirit of choice, tapping away at a keyboard and then playing games most of the time. Then we miraculously sell a book, make millions, and live on easy street while we play with our stories.
Oh how I wish it worked this way! I would be living the high life by now if it did. But, the reality is far different from what you see in the movies. In fact, the only reason that people take it on is because they love to do it or they have an idea that they just can’t let go of. For me, it is a bit of both. I have plenty of ideas that I want to put into words but, I love what I do. Like all writers, I want to do it full time.
There are things that I have to consider though. I have bills and a child to think about. While I want to write full time, that can’t happen without people buying my books and supporting what I do. It takes a great deal of time to produce a book. Then it takes even more time to publicize and promote a book once it is in print.
For me, there are challenges right now that I’m not used to facing. The fact that I have a child in the house full-time is new to me. It is a wonderful thing but juggling the kiddo and the writing is a big challenge for me. While I’m arguing to get her to finish her handwriting practice or reading a simple book my attention is wholly focused on her and getting that done so that she learns. As a mom I am responsible for her learning and understanding what she’s being taught. I take that seriously. But the moment the schoolwork is done there is the constant chirping of:
“Momma can I have a drink?”
“Momma what are we going to have for supper?”
“Momma what is that smell?”
“Can I watch a movie?”
“When will Daddy be home?”
“Can I go outside and play?”
“I’m hungry!”
“Watch this Momma!”
“Look at me Momma!”
So, it is a constant juggling act. My attention is rarely focused on the writing when I am working on it. I’m always listening for the silence and having to get up to see what she is into, when I send her to her room to play.
Charles did set up the desk at the window so that I could watch her and work at the same time. Where it is sitting I can see the majority of the yard. I only let her go out when there are other kids out there. Then there is the fact that we managed to get a TV and DVD player in her room. So, now, instead of having to write with Oliver and Company or the Care Bear Movie in the background, she can watch them in her room instead.
This whole process has been a learning curve for me. Trying to get keep it all in check, learn how to work with people around more often, and manage a household while trying to write is a challenge and a half. It is one that I welcome though. In fact, I wouldn’t have my life any other way right now.
Then there are the challenges that all writers face. The midnight oil burning as you pour over the manuscript wondering if you’ll ever be satisfied enough with it to call it finished. The agonizing over a pivotal scene and details like; whether or not the hero should have worn white or burnt orange as he slays the villain. The plot twists to add to the story come to mind. Did you put enough description into the prose? What statement about social issues are you presenting and will some humanities professor tear it apart and call you insane like they did Van Gogh.
BookCoverPreview1We can’t forget the question of how to get the book into the hands of readers. Decisions about whether to hire an agent or not, traditional or indie publishing, and of course how are you going to market and get the book into the hands of readers all come to mind. You see, so much about writing isn’t really about the writing. Now it isn’t enough to simply write stories that fascinate people. You have to be fascinating yourself and wear a multitude of hats in order to put your work out there and get noticed.
It is all one big challenge after another really.
For me, I’m trying new ways to reach an audience. I’m attempting to narrow down who I am writing for. I’m looking into the options of crowdfunding the sequel to The Secret of the Storm and I’m trying to engage my audience using Facebook. And now I’m in the process of starting to set up a local area book tour. That will enable me to get out and meet the people who are making it possible for me to follow a dream and help support the family while staying home to be a mom and teacher to this little girl.
For everyone reading who has a creative person in their life: just remember that they need a little room to do their thing. I’m one of the lucky ones. Charles understands my need to work like I do. He’s a huge supporter of my work and what I do. In July there will be big changes for me in the writing field. I’m hoping to be able to announce a release date by the end of the month on The Fallen One. And I’m looking forward to promoting The Secret of the Storm locally as well. If you haven’t picked up your copy in print or for Kindle you can do so here.
Just remember folks, when you support an independent author, artist, or even a local business you aren’t padding the pockets of executives. You’re helping people stay in their homes, feed their kids, buy that jersey for a sport or leotards for dance classes etc. You’re helping to make lives better and giving back to your community to those who are giving what they know how to give to the world.

Kids & The State of the Fluff

I am in a very different place than I was a year ago. The changes have been remarkable really. My level of happiness is through the roof. My energy level has its ups and downs but, overall I am going along just swimmingly. The move has been a big boost in motivation for me. There are just so many things going on at once that I have moments where I’m a bit overwhelmed. Adjusting to what is essentially a brand new life isn’t easy but, I have to say that this change has been pretty seamless.

I’ve gone from living with my parents to living in my own home with my fiance and our little girl. So, I’m not just part time momma anymore. In fact, we’ve had to seriously adjust to being mom full-time. There are things about being a full-time mom that are very different from having a kid a weekend here or there like I did with my ex. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade those weekends with her for the world. I always tried to treat her like she were my own kid – despite my ex’s constant reminders that she wasn’t mine or my responsibility. But having a little one in the house full-time is a very different experience.

Back on the 4th of June, I attended her Kindergarten graduation ceremony and her classroom party with her Dad. I was asked to be there and I gave up a trip to Florida with my mom to see family I haven’t seen in a long time in order to be there. Not to mention, the trip to Disney World. What was striking about this to me was that the teachers had asked the kids what they wanted to be when they grew up. Every kid gave an answer that the teachers told the parents and families as they walked across the stage to shake the principal’s hand. For Kat, her answer was that she wanted to be a really good momma.

I am learning that I have to be an example to her. She mimics everything I do. For example; over the weekend we had the opportunity to have my parents over for dinner. My mom had just come back from her trip. She brought a pretty sentimental piece of furniture for my new home and we wanted to unload it from the truck so it wouldn’t be in the weather. I had borrowed her steam mop to get the floors done when we moved in. So, I took the opportunity to use it one more time before she took it back home with her.

I had asked Kat to stay in the other room as I did the kitchen and dining room. And she was being good and doing as she was asked. What was funny was when I looked over at her, she had our broom. As I was mopping the floors, she was pretending to mop with the broom. Every stroke I made, she matched. I thought it was just her playing around at first and laughed it off. But then, there were other things I started noticing; like her copying my mannerisms at the dinner table. 

So, I am really starting to think about how I’m living my life. What do I want for her when she grows up? How can I show her what those things are and why they are better? And I came to a realization that the biggest thing I can do for her is set the example of living a healthy lifestyle.

I am already much more active than I have been in the past. Let’s face it though, writing requires me to be fairly sedentary for a great deal of time. I want to be even more active when I can. So when a family member suggested me coming two nights a week to do Zumba with her, I agreed. And I took Kat with me the first time.

Talk about a challenge! Oy Vey! We managed to get through half of the beginner set before we were all gasping for air and wanting water. I think it was a shocker for us all to see just how out of shape we really are. Yet, we were having fun while getting that mini-workout. I know it will take time to learn the moves. Frankly I want to get the DVD and do it at home. It was a blast and I can’t wait until I can actually dance like these people can who do it. I know it will help my coordination and I also know that if I cycle it out with yoga, I’ll likely get my flexibility back as well.

I’m excited though. I think I have found something that may prove to be my niche for exercise. More importantly I think I’ve found something that I can do that will allow me to help make physical activities fun for Kat as well. She had a ball trying to do the dance. So much so, that Charles and I are talking about how to get her into dance classes thinking that it may help with her coordination and balance. We’ll just see how things shape up over the summer. We have a lot to accomplish but we’re getting there.

Just continuing to plug along. And once I get unpacked and find my files again, I plan to get back to tracking everything like I was and posting the health sheets for you all to use as well. Just keep being patient with me. I just have a lot going on and I am still trying to stay on schedule to publish The Fallen One late this summer so I’m stretched a little thin.

On The Move: Big Changes Ahead

It has once again been a while since I last posted. I am happy to say that I have a good excuse for my absence. One that, in all honesty, I should have talked about prior to it all happening but, with everything that’s happened in the last two years, I was afraid of jinxing it. Considering how hard my fiance and I have been working toward this for a while, I didn’t want to speak prematurely. Then when it happened it was all so fast that honestly, my head is still spinning.

We got our own apartment finally. Not that the arrangement we were both in was all that bad, it wasn’t. It was just time for us to have our own space for a change and get on with our own family life. So, we’ve done just that. Yes, there are still things to work out. But things are all coming together finally. It seems like it has been a long time in coming honestly. I couldn’t be happier though.

Writing is, of course, going slow at the moment. Unpacking takes a toll on you. But, after next week it seems I will be back in the saddle on a regular basis. And let me just say that will feel pretty good. I am feeling very inspired in the new apartment though, I don’t think it is the apartment itself so much as it is the company within it. Having the ability to feel like I have my household again is something that I have wanted for a while. To actually have it is a little surreal right now. Things have become blissfully normal.

I am keeping this short to get back to work on things while I have a chance. Just know that I’m working on scheduling things. If you email me it may take me a week to respond. Just be aware and I’ll say thanks in advance for your patience. I’ll be back to posting regularly soon.

Life Gets In The Way…

My life has been a little crazier than usual lately. I have been on the go all week and I didn’t take my laptop with me for many of the errands I was running. Among the list of things to happen this week was my six year old graduating from Kindergarten, fiance got a new job, helping out family with errands, and trying to make plans for summer vacation and homeschooling. Yes, this writer feels like she’s run a race this week already. So, is it any wonder that I decided to take a nap this afternoon while it was storming and overslept? Not to me. I’m still fighting a nasty cold and trying to hold things together and keep working on writing.

My nap is over though. And I’m trying to make up for some lost time in the word count and editing departments. So, I’ve turned on my “feel-good music” and I’m trying to find my rhythm for a night of escapism into my manuscript. Yes, Michael Buble is crooning at me through my headphones, I’m surrounded by notes, dogs, and cats watching my type away and yes, I love it.

But let me get to the heart of why I am blogging today. Big events have happened this week. Not only did my little girl become a first grader but her Momma became a published author with a debut novel out on the market.

BookCoverPreview1Yes, The Secret of the Storm is out in print now. I announced it the other day briefly. I do, however, want to take the time to encourage you all to take time to review it and pick up either the ebook or the print version.

I did a lot of work on that novel. Elora and I went through so many changes as I wrote and edited that manuscript. Her story is one that will always stick with me because it was so similar to my own life. Now it is a work of fiction, mind you. However, Elora and I both found ourselves in situations that we didn’t expect and we both had to make the best of them. Elora’s life changed dramatically. So did mine. And the truth is, just as Elora’s will continue to change if I go on with a sequel, my life had changed in leaps and bounds as well.

When I was writing The Secret of the Storm, I spent a lot of time listening to music and writing. This is a habit that I continue to have today when I work. Yet, back when I was initially drafting an online friend actually turned me on to a band called The Tea Party. I’ve since fallen in love with their deep lyrics and their overall sound. We won’t mention just how incredibly sexy Jeff Martin’s voice is… okay, yes we will. They’ve stuck with me as a favorite over the years. You’ll find them on nearly every playlist that I use to compose. So, I thought I would simply share one of the songs that I heard more than a few times while writing.

State of the Fluff….

First off, apologies to all of you dear followers and readers. If you’ve been following for the last couple weeks, you’ll know that I’ve been trying to keep something of a schedule here on The Writer’s Studio while finishing continuity edits and trying to juggle everything else going on. I have been slacking a bit the last few days though. For that, I do apologize.

You see, I am incredibly blessed. I have an amazing family that includes my fiance and our six year old. A whole group of extended family and well, because I enjoy it, I spend a good amount of time over there with them. The weekends are the typical time for me to spend all day but, Charles has had a few days off from his job and it is our little girl’s last week of Kindergarten.

We are all excited to be attending her graduation tomorrow morning. So, why am I sitting here at nearly midnight, when I have to get up at six in the A.M.? It would be an excellent question to ask.

BookCoverPreview1The answer is really quite simple though. There was more big news for me today. After more than two and a half weeks of waiting Amazon finally sent me the news that the technical glitch was fixed. That means, The Secret of the Storm is now available for purchase as a paperback edition as well as in ebook for the Kindle. It also means that I can finally start planning a book-launch event and booking signing events here in East Texas.

It is all very exciting for me. I’m sure that it will be something that I talk about often in the weeks ahead. Not to worry though, the blog isn’t going to become one big promotion for the book. There are plenty of other things I have to talk about and give my two bits on.

That being said, the state of the fluff lately is up in the air. I’ve been on the go, lost my voice intermittently thanks to some sort of allergy attack or cold, and haven’t been paying much attention to what I’m eating. So, we’re going to have to jump back on the band wagon at some point. I think I’m going go back to doing my “health sheets” to track and maybe that will give me some motivation. You’d think that a pending wedding would be enough, right?

Keeping it simple so that I can still get some rest. If you have ideas for book-launch events, how to get the word out about the book, or just words of encouragement (this is my first “major event” with our daughter as someone she calls Mom) I will gladly take them in comments or by email. If you haven’t liked my facebook page, feel free to. There is a box on the right for easy access. I look forward to meeting all the readers as time goes on. And yes, I do try to answer all my messages.

Wish me luck! And thanks for sticking with me. Share a link. My philosophy around here is; the more the merrier.

Keeping It Simple…

No fancy images today folks. I am truly keeping this post simple since I have things I need to get started with already.  I got a late start today thanks to this summer allergy/cold thing I have going on. Between the coughing, interrupted sleep, and heat amping up here in Texas, I feel like I’m fighting to keep myself above water in the energy department. But, we keep moving and keep going whether we want to or not.  I am, however, trying some different medicine today in an attempt to knock it out completely. We shall see what happens though. 

Last night, my fiance was later getting home than I thought he would be. We ended up waiting for the kiddo to eat with the other kids and then we took her out for ice cream. It was her last full week of school and she was really good all week so, we opted for family ice cream outing. Of course, Dad and I got dinner while she devoured her sundae. Then we made a trip to Walmart. She got a new outfit and a kite so, I suppose at some point this weekend we’ll brave a trip to the park and let her try to fly it. 

As for me, I’m going to focus on trying to stay cool and enjoying myself. I know that he’s helping with a project but I’m sure I can find somewhere to sit and work for a while if I try. I  haven’t seen them much this week so I’m looking forward to spending time with them. 

There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow…

Sometimes, even writers, have to contemplate something other than writing and story lines. Every life is its own story. In fact, it is in living your own life to the fullest that you’ll find the greatest story you’ve ever read or, in my case, written. But, you have to truly live in it and accept it to see the gem of a tale that it is. I spent a lot of time in my life not accepting who I was and it caused me a lot of heartache, confusion, and ultimately taught me a good many lessons about myself and where I belong in the world.

556559_433592586691099_690937278_nI spent a lot of time trying to be something I wasn’t. I mentioned it before but, it warrants repeating. I tried to confine myself to labels that weren’t even remotely a good fit for my personality, beliefs, or goals in life. I explored, yes. In my exploration I was enthusiastic and wanted very much to understand. This often led people to think that I was a perfect fit in their world. For me these experiences were part of my life and part of my research for stories that I felt I needed to write. There are experiences that will turn into books as time goes on for me.

Just as everything that happens to you serve as a lesson, so too do the people who come in an out of your life. I’ve had many of these people in my time. I will never doubt their sincerity or their acceptance of who I was at that point in my life but, the fact remains, I am no longer the person that I was when they were there. I changed and so did they. And though I may wish them the best as they move forward in the adventure before them, I know I cannot be a part of that leg of their journey. So, you let go and you move on. It really is all that you can do. 

Letting go is hard. It causes pain because you lose a part of yourself when you do it. Doors close and another opens for you to walk through. In fact, I think that life is a lot like these “pick your own adventure” books that I used to love as a kid. You come to the end of a scene and you’re faced with a decision about what path to take. If “A” happens, turn to page 45. If “B” happens next then go to page 94. If “C” happens turn to page 59. We chose a path, the other doors close and we move on to the next chapter. In life there are no do-overs or going back to make another decision based on knowing the outcome. You have to learn from the experiences and push forward and make the better decision next time. That means looking at where you were, what happened, and how you reacted to it first.

There was all sorts of hype about the year 2012. It was supposed to be this turbulent time of global disasters and upheaval. My ex-husband was obsessed with all of the end-of-the-world scenarios and it was practically the only thing he ever really spoke about with any degree of passion or intelligence. So I had a healthy dose of all the focus on the dark side of that. And 2012 was indeed a year of upheaval and destruction for me. But it was also a year of rebirth, growth, and acceptance.

I can almost pinpoint the day I knew that my relationship was over with my ex-husband. It was long before the final straw that had me moving out and the truth is, I likely should have left him long before I did. Though letting go and moving on from that was painful, there was something better waiting on the other side of it all. Yes, I grieved. But, I also picked myself up, remembered who I was before he came into my life, and I went on.

timeinlifePicking up the pieces of my life wasn’t easy. I had to make some hard decisions and come to some tough realizations. It is true what they say, it is in your darkest hours that you’ll know who your true friends are. In that lowest point, I found out that people I’d once considered to be like family to me were nowhere to be found. But, I also found that the voids get filled somehow and you just press on.

The more of the baggage I lose, the more amazing things start happening. The book started flowing again. Ideas for marketing started to come. Ways to make things happen for myself became clear and doors began to open. My personal life took a dramatic turn and now, I find that I look forward to every day. Some of those days I’m working at a day job. Other days, I’m writing and marketing my book or spending time with family and friends. But, for the first time in a long time, I am the one calling the shots. Sometimes I still feel like I am floundering but overall I know that I’m putting emphasis on the right things for a change. My family, my faith, and my writing.

I can tell you that I won’t be relinquishing control over my life again any time soon. Of course, I find that my life isn’t filled with people putting expectations on me that I don’t have for myself. I am surrounding myself with people who build up my creative side, encourage me to follow my gut, and accept me and love me for who and what I am instead of what I might be or can be. That, dear readers, is really the best part of life; finding those people and enjoying the time that you’re given. Life is too short to be full of depressing thoughts, what-ifs, and people who only hold you down or degrade you.