Friday, May 11, 2012

A letter

Dear C -

I hate you.

I can honestly say that. I don't think I can voice the same strong opinion about anyone/anything else in my life, but you I can easily and wholeheartedly say I hate you without guilt or remorse. I was raised to not hate anyone. . .to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and keep an open mind. But no, can't do that for you. You, I hate with a passion.


You have always been in the background throughout my life. My grandfather knew you and you made my mom cry when he passed away. My best friend met you and had to deal with you during some of the best years of her life and you have changed her in ways that can never be remedied.

Along the way you have taken my father-in-law's voice and his ability to swallow food. You have made his life so difficult and everyday he has to think of you and be reminded that you could come back at any point. Changing forever a man who has devoted so much of his life dedicated to building a garden that could feed so many hungry residents of his state - growing food that he himself cannot even enjoy.

Then the unthinkable. You came into my father's life and made his worst fears come true. My dad who was a giver of all things. . .a Sunday School teacher, a volunteer at the prison - making a difference in so many people's lives, a community leader, a volunteer after Hurricane Katrina, helping rebuild houses. Despite all that you snuck in and took him away from us, from all those people that he had helped and all those people he had yet to influence. Gone.

The hatred for you at that point was almost beyond bearable.

 A year later you found your way to another family member. You snuck in while no one was watching. While we were mourning the sudden loss of my step father-in-law (from undoubtably an evil friend of yours), you laid claim to his wife, my dear mother-in-law. A nurse, a caregiver, a woman loved so incredibly deeply by everyone who has ever known her. Hiding deep, waiting for the moment that your presence in our lives would once more be confirmed. Our grief had to be put on hold while we addressed you again. Now everyday is a fight against you. A war for life. Good news will be celebrated (The numbers are down!! Yay! Things are looking up!!) to be deflated only days later with your new path of destruction.

And another family member is under attack. A sweet, young cousin who just got married last year. Just starting out on her life's journey. Now in the battle to be able to see her twin baby nephews grow another day. The roller coaster isn't forgiving. The doctors say they are amazed at how great of a fighter she is and how well she is doing, only a few days later to find herself in the hospital at your mercy again.

Can we just get a minute of peace from you?

No. Then you hop in to visit my brother. He deals with you swiftly and effectively, but not before you have created havoc in his family life in ways that can never be repaired. Yes, I will blame you for this too.

Now how can we live without being in constant fear that you will rear your ugly head somewhere else? Every ache, pain and weird sensation by any family member and automatically our thoughts fly to you. We wonder why we can't just walk into a body scanner and be checked to be free of fear from your hidden attack. The airports scan for bombs and sharp objects on terrorists better than we can check our own bodies for the ultimate death threat. You kill 600,000 Americans every year whereas terrorists killed about 15 in 2011. Why aren't we fighting for better diagnostics and treatment for the war against YOU? (I am fully in favor of every step taken to fight terrorism, but wish we would be as aggressive in keeping you at bay as well!)

Our family's fight with you is not over. But be assured C. You will NOT win. Our family will prevail over you. We will continue to do good works and be good people and live each day of our lives in pure happiness and joy. We will save every negative feeling and energy and give it all to you to eradicate you from our lives, leaving only love, happiness and blessings from here on out. You will not rule over us and keep us from living each day to its fullest, capturing every moment of joy and bottling it up to hold onto during those moments when you try to take over. We will not be your victims.

You try to take life. But we are taking it back.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dotting all my I's!

It's no wonder I can't get any writing done. Besides the job, kids, activities and sleep time, the rest of my time seems to be filled up with something that is supposed to make our lives easier. . .

iPods, iPhones, iPads, iTunes and one Galaxy Tab thrown in.

The girls have our old iPhones without phone service to use as iTouches. These are like the first generation iPhones and are starting to act their age. They move slowly, they crash and they don't work right most of the time. Therefore, they get handed to me quite often to fix/trouble shoot/update. Last week I spent hours trying to get some new songs on Kylie's iPod and today it was all about retrieving their lost text numbers (apparently if you don't text for awhile your text number gets tossed and you have to start from scratch). Once I got Melanie rolling and texted all her friends with the new digits, she tells me her Instagram isn't working either. An hour later I have it working and have added a whole bunch of followers. . .oops, forgot for a minute I was on hers, not mine (I have to fill her in on all the photos I just liked for her).

So why is it that most 12 year olds know more about their devices and computers than their parents do, but it is reverse for me? Melanie could really care less how many Instagram followers she has (while her friends are striving to reach goals of 100, 200, 300!) She rarely texts (as evidenced by the lost number) and she has to be reminded to check email (I actually gave up on that a long time ago). Never has she asked to have Facebook and when I download books onto the iPad for her, she refuses to read them. (In fact she snuck home Catching Fire from her classroom even though it's paid for and loaded for her on the iPad). She only has a few photos on Instagram and one of them is, "Life was much easier when Apple and Blackberry were just fruits." Ha. . .guess she's trying to tell us something.

My routine when I am on the verge of boredom is to pick up my phone and check and write some email, make a few comments and updates on Facebook, like some photos on Instagram, pin on Pinterest, furrow my brow on Words with Friends (that in itself could take an hour!), draw some crude pictures on Draw Something, read USA Today, check the hourly forecast, text a few peeps, then viola. . .enough time has passed to start over with email! Plus I have my work device (the Galaxy Tab) that is good for a few emails per day that I will read as I walk past.

Having the phone does have several pluses to it.
1. It's good for those 15 minutes here and there that need to be filled. . .while waiting at the orthodontist/doctor/dance/water to boil/movie previews/homework/before my next patient, etc. . .
2. It makes me smarter. Ask me anything! Anything!! I can have an answer in seconds! (Why do my eyes water when I pee? How many people died in the Boston Molasses disaster? What are the words to "There Was a Bear?" Where is Dubai?)
3. It's great to catch me up in a movie when I doze off or get distracted (usually a text!). I often find myself missing some the plot, then in just a few seconds on Wikipedia or IMB, I have caught myself up with the plot synopsis of any movie without having to rewind. Amazing. Just have to be careful not to read too much of the plot synopsis, because sometimes I decide I don't like what's going to happen so I tune out completely!

But what are the phone downfalls? My attention span and deep thinking have declined. I don't focus as deeply on any one thing, yes being busy is part of that too, but instead of waking up with a story on my mind or a book within reach, I wake up and within seconds have the phone in my hand and am on to the first emails of the day.

What did I do with all the extra time in pre-iPhone days? Let's see. . .that was about 4 years ago. . .I think I was writing!

My daughter is on to something. I read less books and therefore I think less. My mind is constantly occupied by social media and apps. Therefore, I am making this pledge. I will vow to somehow, in someway distance myself from the phone/iPad. It will be tough. But it's my first goal and first step in trying to get the creative juices flowing again. . .

Wish me luck!

I'll get started right after I check my email/facebook/instagram/pinterest/words. . .

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Moment of Inspiration

Last post Feb, 2010? That can't be right! Wow. I knew I had been busy. . .

All the excuses for not blogging/writing/marketing are there. Working a lot (ever want job security? Be an OT. . .more work than you ever want or need). Kids in too many activities and homework that takes too long. Husband who is busier than ever as well. . .leaves little time to let the mind wander and explore ideas to write about. Oh they are there, but are so fleeting that by the time I've grabbed ahold of them, it's time to move on to the next project.

And not to mention anything that seems worthy of writing about is difficult. The family has been through a lot over the past few years and touching on any of the subjects of death or illness or problems are not something I am inspired to document. . .yet.

So, happy thoughts only!

What has inspired me today? I just finished reading a great book by a first time author, Tracey Garvis-Graves. I had been browsing through the Kindle website, looking for a good read. I sampled a few here and there and then hit the Kindle top 100 paid. Usually I look for something to spark an interest and I don't know what about this book jumped out at me, but once I read the synopsis, I was hooked. Maybe because it had a familiar ring to it. . .and as an author I could relate to her line of thinking. Or maybe it was the affordable price of $2.99 or the fact that she had almost 500 reviews or maybe because she was self-published and made it to the Kindle top 100. (In the top 20 or so!). That is quite an accomplishment for a self-published author and for me a must read! The title is On The Island and once I started reading it on Wednesday I couldn't put it down.

The world of publishing is changing at a rapid pace. Two years ago, you mention self-published to some people they would give you a cursory smile, say, "oh, that's nice, congratulations," and then move on, never even considering the book worthy of reading. But now, as authors like Tracey Garvis-Graves have proven, self-published is the way of the future. Who needs an agent or a publishing house anymore? If you have the time and are computer savvy, all you need is YOU! Just write the book, edit it (professional editing helps), upload it and then VOILA. You have a published book. But how do you go from that to what Ms. Garvis-Graves has accomplished?


And if it is a good book, then people should read it, but they won't read it if they don't know about it.

Here's where the hard part comes in. Marketing.


I would much rather write than market, but I know if I'm ever going to get my books in the hands of a greater number of people I need to get better at it. That means blogging, reading blogs, facebook updates, blogging, blogging, blogging, oh and begging for reviews. Once someone has read a book, it needs a star rating and review in order for it to gain more readership. And it needs a word of mouth following.

Here's where you come in. If you are reading this, then you are probably at least interested in my books. Maybe you've read them already and are waiting for more, or maybe you are interested in reading them someday. If any are the case, then do me a favor. Share the page with your friends and family and ask them to do the same. Oh, and write a review! Please! (that's me begging).

Visit the websites to the side. . .I've made it soo easy. Just click on a book, you'll go straight to the page to purchase it.

Oh, and do me another favor. Read On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves. You'll like it.

And then write a review!