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Life – Writing Your Own Story, Literally and Figuratively

Life – Writing Your Own Story, Literally and Figuratively

My Life – A Raging Tornado

Life, my life has been a roller coaster, of highs and lows, some so low, I thought that there would never, ever be another problem to contend with for the rest of my life. I’ve struggled to get pregnant, I’ve gotten pregnant easily. I had a difficult pregnancy, I’ve had an easy one. I carried twins, I’ve carried a single baby. I’ve given birth to three children, one born with a genetic disability that took her life at 11 months old; I have a child with such severe anxiety, that it has been a struggle for her and the family to live something normal, and now I deal with a transgender child.

As soon as I think I’m coming to the end of the roller coaster, just as it’s ready to pull into the station, I instead, and catapulted back to the first loop d’loop to start the journey again.

My Life – Yes, Sometimes I feel Sorry for Myself

I could have become an alcoholic, or a drug addict or harmed myself, but I didn’t. I thought for a while I was handling the lows, coming through them and surviving. What I was doing was merely surviving, allowing myself to merely be a victim of my circumstances. And yes, in that I felt sorry for myself. Sometimes it’s hard not to do that. After all that I’ve seen, all that I’ve lived through, after life battering me, throwing me from one situation to another, I realized, it’s okay to feel this way. Sometimes you have to let it go and simply feel for the loss of what you thought life would be. But what’s not okay, is wallowing for too long in the low.

My Life – At the Edge of the Abyss

I’ve learned a lot about myself in the 19 years of parenting. It’s okay to not be perfect. And it’s okay to put yourself first. I’ve stood at the edge of the Abyss with the universe pushing me, pressing me against the edge, laughing as I slip on the weakened earth beneath my feet. And as it pushing me toward the deep end, the my bottom, I’ve learned one last thing about myself. I’m stronger than I ever thought I could be. And I shouted at the universe “NO! You can’t have me!”

Writing is what saved me from losing my mind, from letting the weight of the problems overwhelm me and victimize me. Twice this week I’ve heard myself saying or thinking, “We write our own story. ” Literally and figuratively that is. Granted life has a funny way of shoving us down certain paths, but what we do with these changes, is up to us. We write our own story.

My Life – My Passion is the Written Word

I write. It is my priority. It is my love and it is my passion. Someday I hope to do this as my living, not my “hobby” as I learn how to find a fan base big enough to allow me to live my dream. And what I’ve learned about that is, “You must never give up.” It’s that drive, that desire that has kept me grounded, that has made me a better mom, a better person. It builds my confidence, it makes me whole. It is what keeps me from falling off the roller coaster when it whips me around.

This is my life for better or for worse. And I’ve made my choice on how I write it. The glass will always be half full as long as you have the confidence in yourself to make it so.

See the glass as half full and find me at the following book fairs, Summer, 2017.

Printer’s Row Lit Fest

Ann Arbor Book Festival 2017

 

 

 

My Weirdly Profound Way to Find Confidence

My Weirdly Profound Way to Find Confidence

As a Television Junkie…

I’m a television junkie, who in what I choose to watch, oftentimes finds strength and confidence. My choices run in cycles. I can be hooked on re-runs of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Charmed, only to grow restless for something different. There’s been cycles with the Big Bang Theory or MASH and recently Gilmore Girls. Always choosing shows that have a personal connection, whether it was to a storyline or to a character.

Confidence and Gilmore Girls

My cycle now is an attachment to shows in which the female lead is struggling through a life event or doggedly pursuing a life’s goal. As much as I watched Gilmore Girls, I came to realize that I didn’t need every episode to satisfy this weird need. Just a handful of episodes held personal meaning for me. Right now, storylines about Lorelei buying and running her very own country inn, in both the original and the reboot, grab my attention and hold on tightly.

I’ve re-watched the fourth season as if it were my blue print for becoming a successful author. I cry when Lorelei cries, or cheer her on as though I’m unaware of the outcome. In that experience, I gain an odd sense of strength and confidence.

My New Obsession

Grace and Frankie. Though I’m considerably younger than any of the main characters, and have nothing in common with them, I’m drawn to them and their struggles. It’s a familiar theme of surviving a difficult change in life; trying desperately to pick oneself up off the ground and move forward. I’m not divorced and/or in my 70s but I do understand how difficult it is to discover yourself and how to achieve a dream. This hilarious show, and even funnier season, I can’t stop watching the emotional roller coaster that comes with starting their own business. Yeah even selling vibrators come with unique challenges.

Choking back the tears, Grace and Frankie fight for their demographic, for their product with doubt and confidence at the same time. With each step they take forward, I can almost touch their goals too.

You Must Watch Gracie and Frankie Here

 

 

 

The Power of Words and How They Changed Me

The Power of Words and How They Changed Me

The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

In 1892, an author took on the attitudes toward women’s mental and physical health which diminished their power. The disease, nervous depression and slight hysterical tendency, A common malady in Victorian times.

The story with an unnamed heroine afflicted with this illness, was shipped to the country for fresh air, exercise and some peace. But the mansion her doctor husband rented for the summer, did little more than make her feel shut in, pushed aside. The more she protested the less heard she felt.

The longer she remained in the state of disconnection from herself, the more anxiety she felt and soon she began to see them; the other women.

Why at 18 did this story affect me so much?

I didn’t at the time, understand why I felt sadness, frustration at the words in the story. Why did the husband’s dismissive attitude toward  his wife and her needs churn in my stomach. I felt as though he was speaking to me. Feeling as I did, I rooted passionately for this woman as she struggled to release those other women who crept around the nursery. I cheered for their freedom.

When you are an introvert, a shy girl with low self-esteem, you don’t generally speak up, or speak out even though there is so much to say. I let the float around my brain, never harvesting them and only rarely, when they did come, they were merely a whisper, so softly I struggled to break free of the fear that bound me.

The Power of Women’s History Month

I find Women’s History Month fascinating. I’ve studied the stories of brave women who fought for their rights and the rights of the women who came after them. I don’t want to let my predecessors down. I want to find and utilize my voice, tap into my power. But until I wrote my first book, I never found my strength. Always feeling trapped in the yellow wallpaper, hoping for one woman to strip it from the walls and release me too.

It wasn’t until  remembered my dream. In awakening my passion, I discovered my voice,  my courage, my power. I had it in me all along, the ability to say something worthwhile, to shake it up and make someone listen to what I had to say.

I never would have thought I’d walk up to perfectly nice stranger and ask them to appear in a social media campaign. But I did it. Phone calls once stressed me out, because as an introvert, I rely on facial expressions, on visual cues to ease me through uncomfortable situations. Now, I do, because there are things that need to be done.

At 18 I felt Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s words. Transported to that room, the musty smell tickled my nose. The dingy wallpaper coated my fingertips. My own disconnection inhibited my speech.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a feminist who wanted to live life on her terms. To write and be heard.

It didn’t end well for her, but if it was any consolation her story affected me nearly 100 years after it was written. As a writer that’s all we can hope for.

For more about The Yellow Wallpaper, and other works by Charlotte Perkins Gilman:

http://www.biography.com/people/charlotte-perkins-gilman-9311669

 

 

 

 

 

 

International Women’s Day – Why it Matters

International Women’s Day – Why it Matters

Because Women Matter

We are wives, mothers, single women, human beings. We go to college, work full-time, play sports. We’re artists, CEOs, writers, maids, data entry clerks, stay at home moms. We are caring, we are strong, we are relentless, we are tough, we are soft. We are all these things because once upon a time there were others like us who could not be.

There was a time, when it was expected that we would become wives and mothers, unable to own property or get credit, or work outside the home.

But today, my friends varied in their interests. We are teachers, body guards, office workers, writers, social workers, architects, planners, thinkers. Most have children, some have chosen not to; others could not.

I’ve met women survivors of rape and incest, mothers who buried their children, women who rush through life involved in the constant care of children with physical limitations or mental disabilities, and women who give up everything to care for loved ones hundreds of miles away from their home and life.

Women matter, for all the contributions and sacrifices to those we love. We matter for the choices we’ve made and for the choices that will still need to made. Women’s history month reminds us that we as a collective have power, we as individuals have strength. We have come a long way from a time when we couldn’t own property, vote, get credit, go to college or play sports.

This is my remembrance of those who came before me, who fought for my right to my health, to my career. To the artists, writers, suffragettes, ordinary women who took a stand, were beaten for their beliefs, tossed in jail as punishment for speaking out. Susan B. Anthony, Sandra Day O’Connor, Sally Ride, Lucille Ball, Rosa Parks, Margaret Mead, Serena Williams, Judy Blume. So many I have no more room.

For more inspirational women see he National Women’s Hall of Fame: http://www.nndb.com/honors/867/000046729/

And lastly, this is a love letter to my girlfriends. We share our struggles, we support each other, we celebrate and cry together. For without all of my lady friends and not so lady, very salty friends. My shy gals and outgoing leaders, remembering women of the past and speaking up for the future is important to us and legacy we leave to our children and grandchildren.

Be kind, be full of love.

 

 

 

 

Remember the Inspiration that is Nancy Drew

Remember the Inspiration that is Nancy Drew

Inspiration: Today

Inspiration started with a book, which led to a love of mystery. But I wanted more than just to read the words, I wanted to write them.

After spending seven years in the mire that is marketing, writing, editing and parenting, I found myself stuck in the same place and it hit me, that something needed to change. Finding inspiration, I started over, with a new website, book series name, Facebook page name and Twitter handle.

Phew…And now I’m finally ready to release book two, with fear and awe.

While I reflect on the early days, back to a time when I had no idea what would become of my books or where the journey would take me, I find that inspiration and I share with you bits and pieces of that early blog. It sounds almost the same.

Inspiration: October 2010

I was a reader; everything from Nancy Drew, Little House on the Prairie, and Little Women. It inspired me to write my first book at seven years old. At nine, I read Beverly Clearly and Judy Blume, hiding “Forever” under my pillow at night. I graduated to Stephen King and slept with a nightlight; words had that effect. I felt something for these characters, I was engrossed in a good story. I loved to tap into the imagination. Inspiration; I wanted to be a writer.

Though life sidetracked me with a job credit card services, my time as an interior decorator. I had kids and I forgot what I wanted to be when I grew up. Until Harry Potter reminded me.

It’s really not the end of the journey, now that The Day of First Sun eBook is published. I think I’m now just beginning. Book two Black Market is well on its way, and I’m looking forward to all the possibilities. Thanks to everyone for their messages, for their support and questions and if you purchased the book, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Becoming Lola – Changing Jobs

Becoming Lola – Changing Jobs

workingI quit my job. From the beginning the job sat in my gut, the idea that this job and are were a bad for me and my skills and ultimately, it wasn’t what I really wanted to do.  I kept at it making the most of it, even through the job functions that I really didn’t like, the tedious boring creation of certificates, dealing with members and their money questions, all the while trying to do my job well.

In my heart what I wanted most was to be a writer. If I couldn’t make it as an author at least I would be writing for a living. Nothing in my current job was heading me toward either road. I made the decision to quit.

This was a good decision even though there isn’t another job to go to because what I want is a consulting gig, three to six months writing technical manuals about software. I like the idea of starting and finishing a project and having time off. Time to do what I really want, finish my books. But in order to be submitted for the job, I need to be available immediately, hard to do with a full-time job.

Sometimes we need to put ourselves first, our needs and desires. And sometimes we have to trust in our vision and dreams and put some effort into what we really want. You can’t success in your goals if you don’t put any effort into them. Wishing and hoping doesn’t make it happen, hard word and time does.

On my way to becoming who and what I want to be takes determination and trust in my gut. It’s never let me down.

Something to Do This Weekend – Bring the Tissue Please

Something to Do This Weekend – Bring the Tissue Please

sheryl banner dvds 760

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just played this game on Facebook. Ten books that left a lasting impression on you. Don’t think, just type. I thought I’d share the fun. Some are heavy, some aren’t as much, but they are definitely a good read if you’re looking for something to do this week. Go for it. Have some fun. After all it’s Friday Fun!

1) Kiss the Girls by James Patterson. There’s a scene in there with milk and a snake and a girl locked in an underground hell. I read the book years ago. It still haunts me.

2) The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Written by a woman suffering from a form a mental illness in the early 1900s. Her husband sent her away to live in a summer home. She was tormented by the yellow wallpaper in her bedroom and swore she saw a woman trapped inside the hideous pattern. They both felt trapped and I felt trapped as I read the story.

3) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I knew how the book was going to end, I knew it and yet I hoped they would kiss. I hoped he’d be okay. I cried when I finished the book.

4) Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume. It was the first time I was truly angry at a parent character in a book. It felt as though no one heard.

5) One Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini I had to put the book down I was shaking so hard. I could barely finish it.

6) The Diary of Anne Frank Besides crying at the nature of the book, when she says “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.” I marvel at her capcity for forgiveness.

7) Jepthe’s Daughter by Naomi Ragen. The father failed in his duties and left it up to his daughter to fix his mistakes and it almost cost her, her life. I seethed with anger for weeks.

8) The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides Abuse comes in all forms. This was horrible emotional abuse and even though you know the ending you still hope that they get there in time. It shook me up.

9) My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. I read it after my daughter died. And I wondered would I have another baby just to save her life if that were an option. I still wonder.

10) Any Nancy Drew book or most Stephen King books. Both had an incredible influence on me and how I think about stories.

Title IX – Sports and the Year of the Woman

Title IX – Sports and the Year of the Woman

I’m a Sports Junkie Because…

I wish I were good at sports. I throw like a toddler, running hurts my back and my reflexes are incredibly slow. And because of that, I love watching female athletes excel in sports.

This article was originally written for a game day program for the Chicago Force, the all women’s Football team in Chicago. Different than other female football leagues, this one had not an ounce of silk, lace or bikinis. These women wore helmets and pads and left the game wrapped in ice. It was an honor to meet and speak with them about their experiences playing such a rough and predominantly male sport. And I very much enjoyed watching their commanding presence on the field.

History was Made

A twelve-year old girl walked through the practice facility of a high school and noticed the placards and accolades awarded to the many sports teams. Soon the girl became aware of how many more honors there are for the boy’s teams than for the girl’s. She innocently asked why. Observing the dates, I was fully aware, that the boys started playing in the 1940’s, while the girl’s teams were only given the right to exist starting in the 1970’s. Knowing what that meant, I smiled lightly. Because there was no reason for my youngest child to know anything other than anyone could participate in sports. Explaining Title IX opened her eyes to the lives of girls here age, those that came before her and their real struggles to achieve allowed the young girl, to participate the way she needed.

Title IX states that no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. June 23, 1972.

Excelling in Sports

In the decades since the passing of Title IX, women have made great strides in sports. In 2012, for the first time in Olympic history, all participating nations had a female athlete compete. In the same Olympic Games, the US team had more female athletes than male. In 2013, a woman started the Daytona 500 on the pole and finished 8th, the highest finish for a woman ever.

My personal guilty pleasure, American Ninja Warrior, saw for the first time, women, completing the same course as the men; the same obstacle course and winning. In 2014, Kaci Catanzaro was the first woman to complete the qualifying course, not once, but twice. While it might not be a professional sport, the event moved me, and inspired me. We are no longer limited by a smaller, petite body. We are strong, and in that knowledge we can accomplish what we set out to do when we are given the opportunity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfZFuw7a13E

 

In a time when it’s not only acceptable to play regardless of gender, it’s becoming the rule, not the exception. Women have only begun to take on the challenges associated with sports and now forty years after breakthrough legislation, it’s exciting to see what’s possible and what they can achieve.

 

 

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