Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Time for Giving

A friend Julia was talking about giving to charities on her blog today. I give to local charities first and foremost because I feel America and its citizens are in dire straits. Our country needs the money. There are too many children who only eat at school or go without clothing because their parents are without employment.

Don’t get me wrong I feel sorry for those in other countries who are suffering, but I feel we must take care of our own country first to be able to care for others in the future.

Julia also shared two great charities that could use a hand.

Another place I like to donate to is Women and Infants Hospital. My husband and I have raised money and donated it toward new equipment that will make the nurses and doctors jobs easier. These men and women take care of our littlest ones. The babies who sometimes don’t have a fighting chance. They give them a chance. They pour their heart and soul into work and deserve to have the tools needed to do the job.

We also threw a party for the staff to show them our appreciation for all they did for us while our son was there. He was only alive for six days but they fought just as hard as him. We love them and will always be grateful for their profession.

No matter what your passion, remember everyone could use a little extra this year.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Just Do It!

Every year I like to participate in Nano, National Writing Month. You basically write a book in one month. I’ve done it five years in a row and each year I wrote a book over 50k. This year I had high hopes. It didn’t work out.

My dreaded day job has left me unable to do much writing this month. I’m making myself write at least 100 words a day though. I’ve managed to finish a Chicken Soup story and a query. I started another Chicken Soup story and a synopsis for a book.

It doesn’t seem like much, but for someone who is battling for time; it’s huge.

Every little bit helps. Small amounts add up and soon you’ll look back and realize those little hurdles added up to a short story, query, synopsis or even a book!

Just do it! That’s my motto.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Are You Part of the 30%

The other day on Good Morning America they said that 30% of homeowners are underwater. No, I don’t mean literally, but I believe these statistics  might be understated. About seven years ago when the housing market was at an all-time high, the hubby and I bought our house. I’ll never forget spending almost a year looking for the perfect house. When we pulled up in front of this house I turned to my husband and said, “If it looks as good inside as it does out, we’re buying it.”

The house had curb appeal. It was the first house I felt excited by just pulling up. Flash forward to 2012 and I can admit we are in the 30% of homeowners underwater. What it means is that we owe more than what our house is worth. When the market took a nose dive so did the value on all those homes that sold for a mint.

Here’s a scary thing about when we bought our house. There were three couples who bid on the house. Two bid more than us, but because we didn’t own a home and could sign the paperwork immediately, they chose us. The owners had just finished building their dream home and couldn’t afford two mortgages. I’ll never forget our realtor at the closing. He turned to me and said, “Wanna sell your house? I can make you a 26k profit.”

I looked at him and shook my head. “Are you crazy? I love this home.”

And I still do. It’s a great house. We’ve updated the rooms that needed, we’ve put fresh coats of paint on the walls, added a sunroom. We’re really made it a home. We have a humongous yard for our three dogs, a great deck and a relaxing pool. The catch? We could use a larger home. The problem? We can’t sell being underwater right now. We’d be foolish. So we have to stay until it makes sense. The funny thing is the timeline.

It’ll likely make sense that in four years we’ll be in a better position to sell. By then our middle daughter should be off to college and if she lives on campus, we’ll have more room. We might not need to move, but I guess we won’t really know until then. Life has a funny way of throwing us curve balls.

Sometimes I wonder where our life would be had we taken our realtor up on his offer, but then I look around and I’m thankful for what we have. Underwater or not, I love our home.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

When the Dead Visit

I dream often. I remember most of my dreams. Most of the time they’re insane dreams. When I talk to my husband about them he always laughs and tells me I need to dream normal dreams. I found during pregnancy my dreams get more outlandish and most of the time are downright horrifying.

There are two dreams that made me believe there was a message for me.

Three years ago when we lost our son I went into a deep dark depression. Yes, I know it’s normal for a parent who lost a child to grieve. For the six days after his birth I was by his side praying for his survival only to have him slip away. It was close to the six month mark after his death when I had the dream. In the dream there was a little boy. I couldn’t make out his face. He was dressed all in white. He was also holding the hand of a man, who was also dressed in white. There was a brilliant white light surrounding them both. Only a few words were spoken by the little boy. “Be happy, mommy. Be happy.”

Now I didn’t wake up the next day instantly happy, but it did give me a new perspective and I tried to have a new outlook on each new day. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about our son, but living gets a little easier with each passing day.

The second dream happened on my birthday last week.  I met a gorgeous man two years ago. He was funny, sexy and sweet. We didn’t talk much, a few moments maybe. There was an aura about him though. He was larger than life and he knew how to work a room full of women. Sadly he was killed a few months ago. It was a tragic murder and it affected me more than I realized.

The night of my birthday I dreamed we spent the day together. During the time together we celebrated a few holidays, like Halloween and Christmas. And even though we only spent a day together it felt like much more. At the end of the day he drove me home, walked me to the door and kissed my cheek. I thanked him for the time together and he said, “I wanted to remind you of love.”

I woke up and thought about that dream all day long. You see my day job has become so stressful that I’ve considered leaving and diving deep into a full time freelance career. My husband and I have been discussing whether or not it’s affordable for us. The main message though is the stress was taking its toll on my marriage and family. What I took away from the dream was I needed to slow down and smell the roses. I needed to appreciate my loved ones more. I’ve heeded that message. I’m trying to accept what I can’t control and I’m spending more time with the family.

Like I said, I don’t normally put too much stock in my dreams, but these two times I did.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Last week turned into an incredibly busy work week. I put in almost 70 hours at the day job. On top of that I had to go in for some testing and learned my Crohns is currently in a moderate to severe status. It’s time for me to dial down the stress and eat properly. I laugh when the doctor’s say you have to avoid stress. I look at them and ask, “Have you ever had children?” There’s always stress when you have children.

Things are settling down and hopefully over the next week or so I’ll be in a better place at work.

In other news: This is the first time in five years I haven’t participated in Nano. At first I was disappointed, but I’m feeling better about my decision. The day job just won’t allow for that much writing. I have written a story for one of the Chicken Soup series and I’m working on a query for an article. I’m happy with what I’m doing.

I dream a lot. I don’t always remember my dreams, but sometimes I do. I believe sometimes there’s a message to them. Tomorrow I’ll tell you about when the dead visit my dreams.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran's Day

Today I'd like to take a moment and those all the men and women who risk their lives to protect mine.

You're all awesome!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Shopping Addiction

Last week I was watching a talk show and they had a woman on who had a shopping addiction. The therapist told her it’s a momentary happiness. Once you get home, that high you were feeling will go away. I could relate. Most who know me or have gotten to know me over the last ten years will tell you I don’t like shopping. In fact it’s one of those things I despise. When I need to buy something I run in, get what I need and get out. What they really don’t know is that I’m a former shopping addict.

I used shopping to cure my depression. When I was sad over the life I was living I’d buy myself something I couldn’t afford. I’d hide it and bring it out at a later date. I became good at convincing people that I had it for a long time. The problem was my wallet felt the pain. I had to teach myself to only buy what I needed and nothing more.  

I still get a high when the hubby and I go out and buy something large. I can’t tell you how excited I get or how good I feel. But then later sometimes I have buyer’s remorse. I can admit; once we start I can’t stop. I want to keep buying.

I know I can’t shop on my own. There are still times when I have a moment of weakness. Like recently I saw a pocketbook I loved. The DH asked if I wanted it for my birthday. I shrugged and was non-committal. I didn’t want to wait…a few days later I went and bought it for myself.

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy buying things for myself from time to time and I deserve to. I work extremely hard and don’t spend much. I normally buy for everyone else.

I have an addictive personality. I’ve overcome a few addictions, but that’s a story for another day.

How about you?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Best Intentions

Every year for the last five I’ve participated in Nano. While I don’t sign up on the site, two friends and I email each other every day tracking our progress.

Yesterday I started off with the best of intentions, until my doctor called. The results of my blood work came back and it seems the counts are not what they were hoping for. Hemoglobin is low and Sed Rates a bit elevated. While I’ve been feeling run down and a bit “off”, I didn’t realize I was sick. Most likely because I’ve been too busy to consider being ill.

That’s what happens to me. I get in over my head, the stress builds up and before I know it I’m in a full blown attack from my Crohns disease. It’s probably the same thing here, though you always worry it can be something else, because I know it can be something else.

So instead of writing, I’m worrying about was the invasive testing will show.

Either way, have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

After I Left

The next six weeks I spent sleeping on my aunt’s couch or my mothers. The kids did spend some time with their father. He begged me endlessly to come back and work things out. I stuck to my guns and told him no. he resorted to threats and sometimes I feared for my life. I told him he had to leave the apartment and at first he refused.

When he realized I wasn’t going to change my mind he moved out. He cleaned out our joint account with about 5k in it. A few months prior to me leaving he charged furniture on my credit, among other things. He took the furniture with him. Believe me when I say…I didn’t care. I accepted the debt because it was better than a beating. So he had lots of furniture and money. I had freedom.

Things settled down after the six weeks and we moved back into the apartment. My father came in and changed all the locks, adding additional protection. One could never be sure. There were times when I believe he was in my house when I wasn’t there.

He continued to stalk me and I stuck to my guns. I refused to allow his treats to deter me from finding a new life. My health got better with each peaceful day. Did I look over my shoulder? Yes. My family thought he’d never let me leave alive. I think they feared for my life more than me.

Bottom line is there is hope and freedom. It’s never easy. It takes a ton of determination and you have to want out. Some will come after their victim. Whatever you decide please find protection for you and your family.

The best part of this is over the next couple of years I found my self-esteem and started standing up to my ex. He now worries about what I’ll do to him. No I’m not talking about harming him physically. I’m talking about bringing him to court, cutting off his visitation rights and making him pay through the nose. Do I get child support? No. again, this was my decision at the time because I was never in it for the money. I only wanted my freedom.

I pray every day my children don’t find themselves in an unhealthy relationship. The good thing is I know the signs and I won’t stand for it. They’d fight me I’m sure but I refuse to allow them to become a walking target because of any man or woman.

Again if you or anyone you know is in an abusive relationship and want to talk, I’m always here. Feel free to email me.