Homecomings

It isn’t a secret that for the last year or so I have been trying to find the right mix of things to make my marketing life easier.  For authors, it is never just about writing the book (unfortunately). That’s a big part of it, of course. There are just so many other things that go into it if you want to make it a full time living. Which, I do obviously.

I’ve tried out other blogging platforms. I was a long time user of another for more obscure rantings and ravings about daily life. That platform has been through a lot of changes and I’ve been through them all. This last change however, made me decide to try something else. I had the bright idea that I would simply combine and consolidate using a new platform. Surely that would make my life easier. Right? No. So, here I am back on wordpress. And yes, I will consolidate here finally. I finally figured out that this is by far the best platform for what I need and want to do.

So what have I been up to, aside from writing?

I took a vacation and spent some much needed time with my neices in Kentucky. Going back to the old homestead is always interesting. This time was no different. Those three girls are just a joy to be around. I was able to spend a bit of time with my baby brother. It sounds like he may be making a move closer to us soon. So we’ll see what that brings.

I also had a chance to spend a day with my best friend since high school. Deedra is always keeping me laughing and motivated to keep going on the worst days. It was good to be able to go out to lunch and spend some time like we used to. It felt like we were back on “field studies” again and I really need to do that more often.

I joined a virtual women’s writers group a while back. I’ve gotten so much out of it. Really wanted to partake in a big workshop the leader was doing. With the trip and some additional expenses, I couldn’t afford it though. She’ll have another and maybe I can do it then. The support and encouragement happening in that group is amazing though.

WordPress is acting funny for me today so, I’m going to keep this little update brief. I’ll figure out what is going on and make more regular posts going forward. Feel free to let me know in the comments if you have questions related to writing or the creative lifestyle. I’ll be happy to use them for a future blog or even possibly a video series. I’ve been saying I want to start a Youtube channel for a while. Maybe it is time. I just need to come up with ideas for what to talk about. That’s where all of you lovely readers can help me.

Taking Stock & Living Life..

Sometimes life gets in the way of doing the usual things that most writers do. I admit to being terrible about regular blogging folks. I’m usually working on a manuscript when I have time at the computer because my time to write is so limited. Between the day job and the cakes and cookies that time is a premium.

The bakery has been doing okay actually. We have had a small but steady flow of orders. It is so much more than a year ago that I’m cautiously optimistic about it. The next cake is due next week and new ovens need to be tested. We’re getting there slowly. I think that’s good though. Starting small means we adjust to things as we grow.

So some things have changed for me on a personal level. I actually went out on a date for the first time in two years. I’ve become rather picky in what I am looking for in a partner and I know that the only way to find that is to get out there and date. So, I went and had a lovely time with a man that was an equal with similar interests and ambition. So I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Even more surprised that we’re meeting again this weekend and still talking. Usually men run away or disappear on me after listening to me go on. So, I’m good with this. We’ll just see how things turn out. No rushing into anything but, I will say that this is a welcome change right now.

I am still wholly involved in Slauson Cove again. Fans of The Secret of the Storm will be happy about that. I’m not announcing anything with regards to release though. The first draft is far from being completed still but, progress is happening. That’s the big news from the studio right now.

Winter has yet to come…

Texas weather is rarely predictable from November through April. This year has been a constant back and forth of cold and hot. Our days seem to go from one extreme to the other. One day I went in to my job and it was 76F by the time I left work is was in the mid 30s. The next day we were sitting in the sixties again. You never know how to dress. Rain is a constant threat this time of year. So, an umbrella is a necessary accessory to have on a daily basis. And of course, when the weather changes, everyone fights off some sort of crud. I’m no exception.

Last week I was at the doctor for yet another upper respiratory infection. This is my second round with this. I’m not thrilled but the antibiotics are helpful and thank God I have sick time to take that is paid at this point; otherwise there would also be bills to worry about while I heal.  As it stands, I paid my copay, got my meds, and am on the mend.

Feeling better than I was. For the last couple weeks, I’ve just not had the energy to  do much of anything. It was as though I couldn’t get enough sleep. I worked, I came home, I napped, and did only the bare minimum. This left little time to get the creative juices going. Dare I even mention my lack of attention to my activity goals for this year? I didn’t get to the pool at all. And I miss it. So I have to get back to it tomorrow. Routine is not my forte right now.

df213daa9f7abb8efe5976173bbee54dI am in love with a new skincare and pampering line that I was introduced to. I like it so much that I opted to do the consultant thing and make a little cash for going on about it with my social contacts. So yes, I am an official Perfectly Posh Independent Consultant. You can check out the website and so forth if you are so inclined to help a writer out. One of the many supplements to the income stream so that I can pursue writing on a more full-time basis.

Honestly, I do love the products. I’ll be booking some in-person and virtual parties. Doing a bit of selling when I’m able to. But we’ll see how it goes. I won’t be heart broken if it fizzles out for me. I know how the MLM schemes work. I’m not going to hard sell anyone. Or be annoying about it. Just one more thing that has happened that I wanted to mention.

What else is there?

I am planning a vacation in the beginning of June. So I’m excited to be going to see friends and family again. It’s been too long. I’m overdue some fun times. I also plan to do a writer’s retreat weekend sooner than that. Taking time away for a night or two for the sake of focusing on a project and getting lost in it. That’s something that I can say is difficult when I’m working a full-time job. It’s hard to find the hours to sit down lost in my story. I need to though. I’m overdue for some serious time in the chair with the world of my own making. I think it is far more interesting than the one outside my door. But, I’m partial.

16602613_1589352667760112_1362999052483579042_nValentine’s Day was fairly uneventful. My mom bought me one of those Fragrant Jewel Bath Bombs. It had this lovely pink ice ring inside it. It was a great gift really. I was pampered in the tub and then had sparklies to boot. What more can a girl ask for? Maybe a mani because my nails are a mess lately. I really need to think about doing that for myself on payday.

Oh I should also get a picture in the new glasses. Since I got those last week as well. They’ve been a much needed change for me. These help my headaches and lessen the eye strain from being on the computer so much during the day.

I recently purchased a few books that I wanted to read and haven’t gotten around to. Currently on the list, I’m reading Prince Lestat by Anne Rice. I was a fan of the earlier work in the Vampire Chronicles so I am hopeful with this one that she’s gone back to the style and work that I enjoyed so much.

Now, I am going to rest and get back to the grindstone tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll find myself with some time to devote to the book or a short story.

Updates from the studio…

It has been quite a long time since I have touched this blog. I’m not really sure that anyone read much of it before. If they were, my lack of content certainly drove them away over the last year or so. The truth is, my forte is not in blogging. My writing is meant for story telling. This is why I find blogging on a specific topic tedious. I’ve given it a good try and put focus into another blog project for a year but, nothing came from the effort and I was left blocked for ideas as a result. So here I am rethinking my approach yet again.

When I was younger I took part in sites like Livejournal and deviantArt. I used these to put short work out there and get opinions as well as record my thoughts and ideas on various topics including my daily life. These sites helped me to connect to a larger community and even resulted in friendships offline as well. I have to admit that I found those experiences to be much more fulfilling than my efforts at a more professional, topic-focused, blog. So, I am going back to writing about life and things that make me curious or thoughtful. This means that my space on the interwebs is likely to turn very random. But that’s okay.

This blog turns into a real window into my world starting with this post.

octonauts-over-allI’m not just a writer. I wear a lot of different hats. I work too much at a day job in finance but, I like my paycheck. I bake and decorate cakes and cookies with my Mom. I also do various crafts and am dabbling in producing paintings and artwork. I am sure that these will come up in my posts and I’ll share some of my pictures and so forth as time goes on. Some of these areas I’m still learning in but I find them enjoyable. And I am always trying new things like playing the violin, macrame, and gourmet cooking for the family and friends.

I am trying to be more active than I have been in recent years. To that end I joined a local gym that has a pool. I’ve been swimming and that’s been a really good thing for me. I love being in the water. And my evening swimtime is something I look forward to. There is a certain solace in that pool. Just me and the water, it gives me time to think. Whether that’s about my lack of social life, work, or a writing issue I get time to think every time I get in the water. Sometimes it is a meditative experience.

img_0155Speaking of  my lack of social life I do spend a lot of my time with this little guy. Pippin is my baby and an absolute joy in my life. So there will likely be lots of pictures and anectdotes to share. When I am not at the office for my day job, he is usually with me working on whatever I am doing. He’s quite the cuddlebug. And just look at those ears! How can you resist? I’m partial, I know. But he is my companion and I do so love his sweet little face.

That lack of social life is something I need to work on. Finding friends is difficult when you work like I do. I know, I need to get out more. So you may find me blogging on a weekend from a cafe or some other such thing. Just to say I get out.

So, I won’t bore you with a complete run down of my life in a single post. If you want to get to know the woman behind the books, this is the place to be. Oh and I’m sure there will be book news as well… just give me time to find my groove again.

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.

Writer Issues…

I am at the point in the process where I’m tired of looking at the manuscript I’m supposed to be working on. I just want to put this one to bed already and move on to the creation process. For some reason, the editing process does this to me. I procrastinate and I have to force myself to sit down and rework it on the umpteenth walk through. It isn’t that I dislike my story or that it isn’t engaging, it is. I’ve just read it all before; several times before. I’m ready to move on to another part of the overall story or something entirely new.

I have about a hundred ideas stashed away. There are snippets of the better ones in a binder that I work in for such things. Others are in file folders waiting for me to take them to the next phase. Some are just loose pages in a green bin beside my desk that I need to go through and find a filing cabinet to put them in. That’s something that I am lacking since the move that will need to be remedied or I’ll be keeping them in this tote tucked into a closet until I need them again. If I do that, they may end up forgotten but, that’s just a risk you have to take.

I was blessed with an active imagination from a young age. I have snippets of stories and character sketches stretching back to my days in high school when I really began to develop a love of more complex stories and characters. I’m sure somewhere in my grandparents’ basement there are boxes of old journals and notebooks that I’ve stashed away while I was in school. So, I don’t anticipate that I shall be at a loss for ideas for books anytime soon.

As much as I would like to just put the current manuscript aside and work on something else; I won’t. I need to finish it and get it out on the market. There are some perks to being your own boss. There are some drawbacks to it as well. An editor at a publishing house might push me to finish or face a penalty in a contract I signed. As my own publisher, I have to be willing to push myself just as hard, if not harder, to get things done and put the work out to the public. Sure, I can push a deadline here or there but, they never go away. For them to just disappear means that I am giving up on this crazy dream of writing stories for a living. That isn’t about to happen anytime soon.

Maybe it is just impatience on my part. I’m always wanting to plow into something new instead of finishing something that I already have in progress. I’m terrible with endings. It is one of my many weaknesses as a writer. This isn’t because I lack the skill to write an effective end to a story. It is because I get emotionally attached to my characters. I don’t want to see the worlds I created, the people in them, or even their stories to end. And I suppose that’s why I’m happy that so many people have contacted me to say how much they want a continuation of The Secret of the Storm. I actually am excited to oblige the requests and create a series out of Slauson Cove and Elora Castain.

The only real issue, aside from funding the expenses of producing a new book,  is trying to finish what I have on my plate before I start working on something new.

Sometimes I wonder if I am the only writer to face this particular problem. Then I realize that being alone in that aspect isn’t likely and I laugh about it and sit my butt back in my chair to put on the editor’s cap once more.

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.

Indiegogo Is A Go For Launch

TSOTS COVER ADIn May of 2013 I published my debut novel The Secret of the Storm. As a new author, I am excited at the response from my readers and that it has been so positive. I will admit that I was very surprised when I kept hearing the same feedback from readers; when is the sequel coming out?

Truth is, I hadn’t planned to make a return trip to Slauson Cove. When I finished The Secret of the Storm, I didn’t exactly think that people would want to hear more about Elora and the Walsingham family. I even moved on to new projects including a major series. How wrong I was though. Nearly everyone who has read the book has been calling me out for another book about Elora and the Walsingham family. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I wouldn’t mind going back to the sleepy little seaside town and telling more about what happens after the prophecy seems to be fulfilled.

People want to hear more about Elora and her family and friends. This is great for me. It means that I did something right in crafting that story. Producing another book is definitely on the to do list but, as I said previously, I did move on to other large scale projects that are eating a great deal of my time. One of those is nearly ready to hit the press. Taking the time to write another impromptu book is going to take resources that I don’t have.

old file case Family Secrets#2I’ve started an Indiegogo project to fund what I need to get another Slauson Cove book in the works. There are so many things that go into producing a book. I want to do this right and I want to be able to pay other indie-artists and freelancers to help me make it the best it can be. That means I need funds to work with. Not only will I need those to pay the people helping but, I’ll need money to help me promote it once it does come out.

I’m trying to raise $4,000.00 through Indiegogo. The campaign will last 60 days starting August 1st. I’ve chosen to go with the flexible funding option so that if we don’t reach the total goal I can still keep working on a more limited budget for those who do want to see the book come out.

Donating is simple and can be done via the campaign site using your Paypal account or a major credit card. Simply choose your level of support. Many of the levels include a tangible copy of the book sent to you when it is completed. The details of each level are there for you to see. Donors will be featured in a post here on the blog and will also have a special place on the main header as soon as the campaign ends and I receive the list of donors. This will likely be in early to mid October.

Work will be starting on the book in September. But books won’t be mailed until all is finished sometime in April or May of 2014. Writing a book takes time and I’m wearing a lot of hats. I’m a mom, a teacher, a writer, a publicist, a homemaker, and I am trying to market with social media and promotion tours here in East Texas.

For the next few weeks, you’ll see posts here about the upcoming release and the perks that I’m offering and why I’ve chosen them at various levels. If you can support the cause, please know that you’re not just helping me take some luxury vacation or buy some sort of trinket. You’re helping me get my career and life on track. You’re helping put a little girl in dance classes, paying for education costs, and helping enable me to stay home so I can focus on the two things I love most my family and my stories.

So please, at least read the campaign here. I know that times are tough and everyone else is struggling just as we are here. But there are other ways that you can help. Boost the signal and send it out to your social media. Tell people why you’d support it if you could. You never know, it may inspire someone else to contribute where you couldn’t. I will also be posting a flyer for you print off. You can post it wherever businesses will allow you to do so. Public bulletin boards are great places for this. You can also ask your local librarian, post it in your dorm, pass it around your reading and writing circles. There are any number of ways to get people to notice the project. The more people do, the more likely I am to reach my goal. And I can’t do that without all your support.

Thanks in advance for all the support you’re showing me. As a special celebration to get things kicked off, I’ve been able to lower the price on my Kindle Edition of The Secret of the Storm to $2.99. That will last through August 10th. So, it is a chance to get the original story at nearly half price. If you haven’t already read it. I suggest picking it up and getting to know Elora Castain and the Walsinghams.

The Importance of Happiness

Happiness is a key to being healthy.

Yes, this is my awesome insight for this week. No, it isn’t very profound. But, in my personal experience, it is true.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that until the last seven or eight months months, my life hasn’t been a very happy one. It is true that I put on a good face for everyone around me. Trying to make it seem like I was happy with things when I wasn’t. But, the reality is that the depression that was rampant in my house was taking its toll on me.

64640_389799357763068_1872943124_nI learned a few things about myself as I was going through the process of figuring out who I was again. I figured out that I was an emotional eater. When I got angry or sad, I ate whatever I could find in the house. When my, then, husband came in he always brought sweets and sodas. When I was down, I couldn’t tell myself not to eat them. He certainly wasn’t helping my attempts to lose weight. His attitude, apathy, and emotionally abusive behavior toward me only added to my stress and thus my eating.

There were times I didn’t even know I was doing it.

For example, my biggest weakness is soda. I’m an addict when it comes to Coca Cola and Dr. Pepper. Even now, it is my biggest hurdle to try to overcome. My ex worked for one of the leading soda distributors. So, he kept cases of them in our refrigerator. He even went so far as to put a variety of the flavors all along the bottom shelf for me to choose from. Now, some people drink coffee to get themselves going in the morning, for me, it was always a cold Dr. Pepper or Coke. What was worse is that I would literally drink one after another all day long. I would simply keep telling myself, “one more and then I will switch to water the rest of the day” but, I didn’t. Then, the next thing I knew the case would be empty and he would be bringing in another to take its place. Even after I told him to stop bringing them in and tried to explain.

Make things happenChanging a habit is hard to do. We get set in our routines and when they aren’t working for our health sometimes it takes a jarring event to make us wake up and take note that it needs to change. For some people that is a health issue. For me it was the fact that none of it was making me happy. No matter how the epiphany hits you, changing to be happier is difficult.It is even harder when your efforts aren’t supported by the person you’re with.

I had come to a point that I nearly hated myself because simple tasks were far more difficult than they should have been for me. Things like washing the dishes, walking to the mailbox, going to the local Walmart for supplies were all too much for me to take. When that happened I had to fight with myself to keep going. There were days that it just didn’t seem worth the effort to even get out of the bed. I didn’t like the person I had become. I was not this depressed person who stared at her walls living vicariously through characters on a page all the time. But, I’d become that person and honestly, it was something of a relief that things fell apart the way that they did. It allowed me to find myself again and become the happy person that I am.

I haven’t really been dieting. There is no “skinny pill” or fad diet that melts away the pounds. What has truly worked for me is finding my happiness. I get out and do things with my family now. I go shopping just because I want to browse again. I take off and spend time with friends playing cards or just talking about whatever is on my mind. I take a little girl to the park, play games with her, and I generally stay busy. With that being said, I do eat less. There’s less emotional baggage to deal with and so, I don’t stress out and turn to food.

Finding my happiness took me a great deal of soul searching and pain. I had to lose everything I’d convinced myself I wanted in life. I had to start fresh, rediscover myself, and essentially reinvent the person I was into who I am now. Change is hard, yes. Being truly happy is its own reward really. Regardless of what size I end up; the important thing is to just stay happy. Life is just too short to let other people’s opinions of you weigh you down. 

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.