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When Plans Fall Through

Have you ever worked hard to be where you want to be only to lose it? It doesn’t feel good, at first, to know a job or dream has slipped through your fingers. I had a decision to make this May after a publisher I worked with went out of business. Since I’d only published one book with them (three others, on my own, before that)-I could re-publish the book again as a self-published author or I could inquire for a book agent (I’ve heard they live somewhere over the rainbow) and take my chance again in traditional publishing.

So where have I been since May of this year?

In a dark hole of grief and introspection.

I haven’t re-published. Here are only a FEW reasons why:

I’m sick of re-editing the same damn book a thousand different ways.

I’ve lost my love for the process (at least temporarily)

I’d rather be reading

It probably goes without saying after a publisher ditches several hundreds authors to go out of business, I’m a little distrustful of traditional publishing. In the defense of my former publisher, I know for sure they set out to encourage many authors-and they have certainly been a learning tool for me, showing me how a traditional publisher works.

However, I will not sign-on with traditional publishing anytime soon because:

Authors are expected to invest a shitload of money into marketing and I don’t have time to market myself as much as I’d like.

Until I finish my third novel, I probably won’t see a dime of payment straight out of the publishing gate.

In the mean time, I have a job not having to do with writing or publishing, and I’m quite content. Also, the mess of discouragement has actually helped me to remember a few things I COULDN’T do because I HAD to write.

Reading, for instance:  www.bookescapereviews.wordpress.com  |  Goodreads

And graphic design and web designing.

But as you can see, I’m not COMPLETELY done writing-I’m continuing to blog and who knows, I might put a few stories out there sometime next year. I’ll let you know if I do!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Gallery

It’s Not All About Fat

I trusted doctors for years until after post-partum depression several years ago. Now I wonder which health professionals are committed to wellness and which ones are out to make money.

I’m only one person. Who am I to judge the experts who have invested their money, time, and energy to commit to serving others’ health needs?

I run into the issue of sincerity every. Single. Time. Most careers have people who care about the patients/customers they help. But also, there is no lack of greed, where a re-coupe on investment is someone’s priority. I wasn’t- (and still am not sure) what category the doctor who consulted me to seek a weight-loss solution center-falls into. People are multi-faceted, and it goes beyond how a person outwardly acts or speaks to others, regardless of profession.

There is no doubt; I wasn’t happy in the delivery of this news from the doc that I needed to face my fears about weight-loss. About a week into sadness, anger, denial, and depression over the long road I faced, I began to accept it’s not all about fat.

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Mr.Incredible and I pose for dear daughter to photograph us in (2015) 

I can’t control others’ motives for their interpersonal skills (like the good ole doc’s polar delivery that I was beyond repair aside from surgery or diet pills)-but I can control how much I let an individual’s actions and words affect me.

It’s not “me vs.them.” It’s me and why it’s so hard to let go of this fat that is slowly killing me. I wonder what I’m trying to smother out or at times if the binge-eating is a self-punishment (beyond coping with anxiety.) I have self-harmed by removing tiny imperfections from my skin (only I see them as flaws) as I discuss in a piece I’ve written on Kyrian Lyndon’s blog. Another thing to consider is, am I possibly trying to take up more space physically with my body to make up for feeling unheard or inadequate in some aspect?

I explore the possibilities and solutions on a regular basis in my quiet time.

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Me after long day of work (November 2015)

(BTW, self-harm isn’t exclusive to teens. If you need resources to help cope with self-harm, take a look at videos from Trauma Recovery University. Helpful stuff, there.)

Continuing with the doctor’s visit: There is something else here, beyond the fat. Just like the doc who had reasons I couldn’t see for a tough bedside manner-my self-talk had been so bitter and unforgiving that I’d given in to the hoplessness. I’d essentially quit on myself.

Maybe that is why I allowed myself to cry that evening after seeing the doc. My sweet husband said the most beautiful reassurances to me and continues to support my pro-activity to live healthy in a larger body. After talking with my husband, I felt better, but I knew I was in the weight-loss marathon for the long haul. I’d progressed to the point to where I knew I am WORTH the change: Something I’ve heard over and over, but until a person CONVINCES themselves, it falls on deaf ears.

(Tiny disclaimer: the remainder of this post features faith and mentions religion and how it has affected me. If you are triggered by this in some way, please do not scroll down and know I completely understand! My blog isn’t religious, but faith has been a prominent part of my life and recovery.)

My body today is not my destiny. My body is not my present or past. My body isn’t for anyone’s acceptance-my own or others. But my body is capable of progress. It is lovely and covered up most of the time because I hold it respectfully in a world where media longs to compare one body to another. I’ve learned my clothing, style, or image is for naught. Faith in my creator has taught me these truths in the way only seeking God daily can do.

A great deal of abuse I’d survived was in the care of organized religion from a young age. Some may see it as foolish to seek faith as a refuge after enduring such fear and pain. This post may seem extremely shallow to you. I’ve been on both sides. The shallow end of religion and then the side where I know God’s endless love. Because of this, there is a very clear and distinct difference in religion and God’s actual love and care for me as his child.

Only a day ago I listened to a song that touched my heart in a special way. It is Good, Good, Father by Chris Tomlin. My father and I have met after 20 years of estrangement, but nothing could have made up for his absence. The song Good, Good Father refers to God as my father. I couldn’t stop the hot tears from streaming down my face in that precious moment at 3am when I knew I was hearing “I Love You” being whispered from God straight into my heart on Valentines Day. Those words were never uttered by my earthly father, who spent his last years before retirement inside of pulpit. Those words have been muttered from me and others who I thought I’d loved and who I thought loved me. Those words finally began to sink in as I held my newborn daughter seven years ago and my marriage survives and flourishes during emotional darkness.

If a person is survived by love, what else is there? It certainly goes beyond the anger, sadness, blame, pain, and how a body looks.

May you know love each day of your life. I’m not done with the subject of love and acceptance. I understand for many of you this is quite a surprise because I’m a private person with my faith.

Back to our regularly scheduled blogs.

Have a great week.

~Laurie

To Su-shi, or Not to Sushi:That is The Question #food

I’ve always wanted to live near the ocean, but not because of the beach or sailing or sunrise over gorgeous, expansive waters–for the fresh seafood. One of my favorite places to visit is Charleston, South Carolina. Southend Brewery in downtown South Carolina has delicious she-crab soup. One year, before our daughter was born, we went just for the soup! Plus my husband is a curious student of history and Charleston overflows with unusual, entertaining, and sometimes disturbing historical truths. But this post is about a lighter topic: to sushi, or not to sushi?

Back to the thing about seafood.

Seafood and chicken are a reliable source of protein to avoid hunger pangs and I’ve been pre-preparing weekly meals. I’m taking my time and not depriving myself, exersizing a few times a week and eating delicious and fresh food. I’ve lost five pounds in a month, and energy is increasing more each day. I pre-prepare meals on the weekend (and sometimes in the middle of the week, if possible because fresh veggies and fruit from the farmer’s market).
Foodies will understand when I say, I did not want to mess with sushi. Unless it is from the kitchen of a sushi chef, it couldn’t be remotely good.I love sushi. Cooked or uncooked. Drizzled with sauce or not. Ginger, ginger, ginger, nom nom nom nom —
Er…yeah. So it’s goooood.
But I am not a sushi chef. I do not aspire to be one. I respectfully resign from the notion I could or would ever be a decent fish-slicer, seaweed roller, or sticky-rice super sushi-chef ninja.
So now that we’ve established THAT: this weekend I made sushi.
Here is my first attempt:
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BEHOLD. The enormous and overly-stuffed lemon-peppered talapia, fluffed jasmine rice, and seared asparagus in a common, disposable tupperware container.

And (better) second attempt:
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OH LOOK. My tiny sushi ninja-chef emerged. 

Hey. Let’s not forget the nom, nom ginger (below the sushi roll slices) and drizzled hoisin sauce.

Ohhhhh….yeaaaaah.

It may not be from a sushi-chef kitchen, but it’s fresh and delicious from my kitchen! Quite a delicious meal to eat until we make it to Charleston, or somewhere near the ocean again. 😀

Thanks for stopping by to read my post. I write romantic fiction with heart and humor and I am represented by Booktrope publishing. My newest release will be launching soon. That means I’ll be giving away book swag to readers soon though my blog! Don’t miss the giveaways. I love to show my appreciation for your support. Giveaway announcements and other fun opportunities are announced first and foremost on this blog. Be sure to follow my blog so we can keep in touch! Also, I have a Facebook page, if you’d like to connect there. Don’t forget to like the page and choose to “show first in newsfeed” or else Facebook may hide the post from you! Have a great week and take care. ~ Laurie Kozlowski

Go-To Resources To Unleash Creativity

There are times when we need to change up our routine to keep sane. For instance, if you work in the same cubicle doing the same tasks for the same minimal pay–perhaps your life could benefit from creativity. Or if you’ve finally taken time off to use your vacation time and don’t want feel like you need a vacation (from) vacation, simple creative activities could help.

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Check out this list of go-to resources to unleash creativity and use the ones that catch your interest. The lists are in two categories: writing related and non-writing related. I admit most of the recommendations are veered toward introverts because I’m a happy and proud introvert myself. 🙂

Writing Related

The thrill is gone. Once upon a time you had the feels for the book or story you started, but the thrill is gone. Maybe you need a break from a long-term goal. Your imagination can go wild when you write flash fiction. From 100-1,000 words, challenge yourself with a new story trope or idea.

Not sure about where to find ideas? Try TVtropes.org and find tropes from your favorite categories and genres related to movies and TV shows. Finish your story piece and publish it or keep it to develop later. But finish it. You did it! Now go back to that big idea. You can do that too.

No idea where to start or what to do. Do you like movies? Most people have a favorite movie they know or can quote. They are familiar with the story. But have you ever applied your writing to one of your favorite movies? Screenwriting tips from Blake Snyder’s “Save the Cat” method uses a three-beat system to divide scenes up into three beats. Take a look and print off the worksheets. Then sit down and take brief notes when you watch the scenes in your favorite film or even tv show. You’ll eventually begin to grasp story structure.

Apply what you learned about writing to a short story idea. Perhaps the story could also have potential to become a working outline for a novel (Here is a helpful site to download free resources to outline a novel, when you’re ready.) You’re off to a great start. Keep writing!

Blog? What is this blog thing and how do I do it? A blog is a place of unlimited potential for just about anyone. You can make a blog as formal, as funny, as serious as you want to make it. It can be on any subject under the sun. Blogs are happy places where you can be yourself on your part of the web. You’re able to monitor comments or turn them off. Blogs LAST beyond the ever-changing whims of social media channels. Check out Hubspot’s blog topic generator for ideas on what to post. Visit bookpromotion.com to know how to effectively pimp your blog out. Also, don’t be afraid to go to your favorite blogs and see what they are doing. Copying posts is a BIG no-no without permission from the author, but you may come across content that inspires you to write your own spin on the topic.

“I’m all out of love for ideas.” Yeah. We’ve all been here before. It sucks. To re-vamp your inspiration try Pinterest. Type in some of your interests or things related to your interests. Like if you enjoy cooking, type “recipes” or if you only like to eat vegan type “vegan food.”

Non-Writing Related

Oh my, are the options endless here. I’ll throw a few out for you to explore. Of course, if you think of any others, do those too. You know you better than anyone.

*Love Machines (technology)*

I-Movie is a fun way to create a movie or book trailer. It’s simple to put something together and share it with friends for fun or compile something for a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary. The music is pre-loaded, but I think you’re also able to upload your own music. Just be sure to use royalty free images and music.

Did you know you can create simple memes, Facebook banners, and jazz up your photos in MS Word and Pages for Mac? You can. It’s time- consuming, but for those who love to tweak (not twirk) until the sun comes up, you’ll love doing this. Here’s a YouTube tutorial for Facebook banners . There is a ton of instructional videos on how to design on Word or in Pages (for Mac.) Go crazy designing and show off your work.

Move to the beat. Playlists encourage movement and happiness. If you’re sad, there’s a song for it. If you’re mad, there’s a song for it. Playlists on Spotify are a fun way to categorize music for whatever mood you want to nurture. If you’d rather bypass the low monthly fee, try I Heart Radio. There will be commercials on your favorite radio stations, but that is why it’s free. YouTube is another way to categorize music videos into stations, and it works sort of like a playlist. If you’d rather not be bothered with ads, the small monthly fee is well worth it.

*Hands-On Hobbies/Occupations*

Crocheting is a skill that can be learned and is a creative and relaxing way to create numerous things. Check out Crotchet Guru on YouTube.

Repurposing home goods is good for the environment, but it also saves money and encourages practical solutions in a creative way. Here are some ideas from a previous post I’ve written. Pick something you like to do and make it your mission to complete it.

Pottery creation is a way to spin ideas while creating original art. You can paint, glue, and design to your heart’s content. Then use the final product later as a centerpiece, stepping stone, or pen holder.

Adult coloring books are a thing now. Check out these free and printable designs. For those who are mentally burned out, coloring is a subconscious way to soothe anxiety and stress associated with burnout.

Cuddle an animal if you have high blood pressure, PTSD, have anxiety or depression, or want a better perspective on life. Local animal shelters are always in need of volunteers to walk and care for the animals. The advantage to volunteering is that you’re able to love on the animals too. When potential adoptive parents come in to ask about the animals, you’ll know their best attributes so they’ll find a loving home. Who doesn’t need more love in their life?


Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow this blog. I follow back and enjoy keeping in touch through blogs and email. My email is authorlauriekozlowski@gmail.com . I have two FREE flash fiction stories for you to enjoy. The first one is a humor diddy: Undercover Panty Agent . The second story is suspense: Dagger of The Damned. My usual genre is contemporary romance fiction and I write for Booktrope Publishing. More on recent publications can be found >here<.  I have book to be released soon and will set up a newsletter because it will be fast forward from there! 🙂 Happy reading and writing!

Laurie Kozlowski


The Biggest Block To #Creativity and Tips to Prevent It

Whether it’s a craft project or you are fortunate to secure a creative career, being able to manage time and tasks is a big deal. Most jobs require employees and managers to perform basic tasks, such as being able to stay organized, take care of their health and communicate effectively in tandem with continuing their skillset.

At first it may seem like someone with a creative career or growing hobby is less structured, more sporadic, or that they have advantages over someone working in a more common work environment.

However, creatives have a way of becoming so dedicated to seeing a project through that surface advantages may become a block to their very livelihood: their creativity.

Time management should not be ignored, especially in creative careers. Poor planning may cause bigger problems to arise such as lost communication from valuable sources, health problems, working way too many hours and causing creativity burnout.

Here are a few tips to prevent this from happening to you.

Start the week with a plan.

It’s Monday. There are pages of files not put away because of much-deserved time off after working a six-day work week. Email is overflowing, and you’re certain you’ve deleted that important message from a lead client. You feel sick because you haven’t been eating well. Who has time to cook when you could be working?
Also, your three points daily checklist goes out the window when a co-worker needs your guidance to work out details of a project at the last minute.

As soon as you’re aware you have an hour of time to think about your schedule and upcoming events for the next week, outline touch-points as a day-by-day reminder. You may even do this as you go, and keep lists with reminders and alarms on Wunderlist or another app. An hour is a small price to pay, especially when due dates and deadlines are looming.

The point is to be aware of what is ahead. After adjusting the reminders a few times, you’ll have a fail-proof routine.

Busy doesn’t always equal productivity. I like how Kory Kogon author of The Five Choices distinguishes “busy” from “productive” in this video on inc.com.

Reserve thirty minutes to file away emails and messages every week.

If you’re unable to manage that, take fifteen-minute breaks daily, to ensure your files are in backup storage files and are sorted. Gmail requires users to make use of folders, tags, and favorites to sort. If convinced your computer is on the verge of crashing while typing an important document, set up a free account on Dropbox as a backup on the cloud. Double save files. The only drawback to this system is that you have to be consistent saving files to your main saving source plus remember to back up the file on Dropbox time. Once you’re in the habit of keeping a filing backup system, you won’t have to worry about recovering files or paying someone to do it for you. Instead, you could buy your dog a year worth of treats so this doesn’t happen or buy ridiculous items like the tiny broom slipper.

Write email responses or messages ahead of time and send them at the beginning of the following work week.

Set an alarm for every couple of hours (or your preferred time increment) to remind you to get up and walk around if you have a sedentary job at a computer or sitting constantly.

Walk for 15 at least twice a day. The health benefits of walking is far better than the risk that comes with always sitting without exercise–blood clots, heart desease, and diabetes are leading health complications related to not exercising. (American Heart Association.)

Pre-prepare super simple meals ahead of time.

Quinoa can be prepared in five minutes, is gluten free, and packs protein to keep a stomach full. There is instant oatmeal, and add raisins, Splenda sweetener, or berries (unthawed in the fridge overnight) to enhance a bland breakfast into morning fuel.
Oatmeal is one of the wonder foods in whole grains and has been proven to curb high-cholestorol.

Coffee is usually good in moderation, but some side-effects like ulcers can cause discomfort. Also, caffeine is addictive. Instead try this: eat an apple. No joke. This works every time. Sure, it will take time to get used to, but it’s better than keeling over in pain from an ulcer.

How you like them apples? (quote from the movie Good Will Hunting.)

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Make a brief outline of the week ahead, even if you get off track.

Daily checklists are bound to be rearranged and moved around unless your sole mission is to be a robot. The fact is, we’re humans (gasp) I know. Surprise, surprise.

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Image Source, Jo Gibney 

So it’s good to note to pre-write those emails even if you don’t get around to it. Set reminders to take care of the most pressing issues on the days when you know you’ll have a pocket of time to deal with them. Preferably not on lunch break. Take lunch with a friend or watch a favorite show or read a physical book. Start a creative hobby you want to excel at and take note of your progress. Maybe join a creative community in real life or a nearby city.

You’ll be surprised at how encouraging it is to do a different type of creative project and be great at it. Soon the creativity starts flowing; the creativity blocks aren’t quite as high, and the less-stressed side of you is free to deal with the issue at hand:

What the Kardashians are doing today.

Oh, no. Wait. That’s not it.

What is for dinner.

Hmm. Probably good to know, but what I mean to say is:
Don’t give up, plan for the best, and if it doesn’t turn out right, keep creating something and being proactive until it happens.

Tiny Disclaimer: I’m not a weight-loss, health, or time-management guru by any means, but the tips in this post are brought to you by things that work in my own sometimes chaotic life.

I’m happy to share with you: Serendipity Summer, my first book with Booktrope Publishing, will be re-released soon! I’m planning fun giveaways, contests, and you’ll have the opportunity to access first news and more freebies by signing up for my newsletter. My promise to you is that I will not spam my newsletter to your inbox. It shall be a wonderful a glorious way to keep in touch with those who follow my blog and publications, so they have first dibs on the most awesome events,freebies, and opportunities. For now you can follow my blog and be updated by email when a new post is up or if you haven’t checked out my author website–what are you waiting for? 😉 

Somewhere In The Middle–Silence, Strategy, and Strength #amwriting #confidence #productivity

Bullying is an issue far and wide. Even in adulthood, there are those who still revert to the “playground bully” mentality. They are either: the obnoxious bully with a silver tongue lacing their tones in undercurrents of sarcasm, anger, and rigid perspective. (Oh, and the crowds follow, being blindly led, OR ELSE.)–or they are a single, silent, and isolated being who is afraid of being heard or seen.

As a kid on the playground, I was somewhere in the middle. I keenly observed the kids who were taunting others, taking note of the different approaches they took. Deep down, I knew I’d be a victim one day, but although I stayed mute, I wouldn’t divert my eyes from them. I was a discerning loner who learned early on that there were some battles not worth fighting.

My energy was spent strategizing a way I could be of value to those who needed it most. I kept an eye on those who weren’t as skillfully strong at fending off the bullies. The ones who would talk and end up crying. My scrawny little self may not be able to defeat a large group or individual, but I knew I had more brains than to stoop to the level of the kids jabbing and jawing at others. I learned staying mute made me unusual, but it was also my strength.

I sat next to bullied kids during class or on the bus while the other kids laughed at them. I partnered up with them during class assignments and sometimes they drew confidence from my presence though they and the bullies would look at me like I was crazy. But the bullies left them alone while I was near them.

I didn’t credit myself for being a saint and still don’t, but the values I held onto then, still resonate in my life today.

Don’t Look Down

It’s easy to get distracted by the fear in the world, and rightfully so, convenient to “feed the fear.” Here are some examples of what I’ve done to feed the fear: (A) Deny myself the right to rest when I’m “in the writing zone,” but my body is tired. (B) Said no to going to events that could improve writing because I can’t afford it. (C) Interviewed for a job that was a horrible fit–got it, felt like a failure–then immediately knew I was better at writing than anything that the new job could offer me.

[Photo credit: Design by Christer S. Rowan Photo by Darren Deans]

[Photo credit: Design by Christer S. Rowan
Photo by Darren Deans]

Notice there is no lack of effort here. Laziness is not in my repertoire. I compromised my health; lack of sleep. Finances; refusing to invest in a creative career that pays. And confidence; proving to myself I could get a job other than writing, providing a steady income–that is when my inner bully decided to dance around, isolating these situations as stone cold facts in my mind.

But they aren’t.

They don’t have to be your truth, either.

I now understand my self-worth and value will never, ever come from any outside circumstance. Also, busyness does NOT equal PRODUCTIVITY. I’ve had to take on a new perspective, recently, but it isn’t new to me. It’s envisioning myself as the bully on the playground, then asking my young self (the one who embraces the kids being bullied)–what would she do?

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Keep Living Your Best Life, Write About Those Life Things, and Don’t Stop.

I’ve had a few people ask me (they remind me those who are careful not to “feed the bears” in the zoo–a little in awe, but a lot confused): “how do you keep up with everything at home, publish short stories, and write a novella while keeping up with a blog…then also read and review other author’s books?

I sit stunned, not knowing how to explain it. Not in awe of my accomplishments–but the opposite; a little embarrassed that they’ve noticed something different in me from what they’ve seen in others.

The only thing I can sum it up to is: I view silence and resilience as wisdom.

Knowledge and wisdom are not the same. There are plenty of people who know how to write, do, and are successful. But it’s in the how of their success where they are wise.

Don’t tell me how I should do it, tell me how you did it. And show me how it’s done, so I know what lasts and what doesn’t. Then the results of your work…put you in the “informative” category.

But, I have to admit, the delivery of a person’s success is vital to how my cynical mind process their presence in my life. If it is humble and respectful, yet potent and distinguishable from the crowd–then I know it holds weight.

The young girl me on the playground doesn’t shout to the world she’s done this, that and the other. She’s quite embarrassed to take credit for her hard work though others notice it. It may seem like a weakness, but this is where not giving up comes in handy. Plus, if I don’t tell people about the books I write, I don’t get paid, so there’s that, too 😉 Also:

Knowing Where I Fit In

There is no way to set standards and discern what I value without it reflecting what I see in myself, to some extent. Everyone wants to know they are valued. Perceptions of others are often mirrors to what we expect of ourselves.

Many of the most boisterous voices out there need to know they matter. But being in the background doesn’t always mean giving up. Quite the opposite. It’s what a person does during the time when others are evolving around them, openly, when they have rapid access to drawing water from their inspirational wells during the quiet time.

I cannot see past where the world wants to put me if I don’t take the time to give to myself and others. 

My morning starts with listening to motivational podcasts that are liberal enough to inspire without sequestering how I should or should not do something. Then I briefly journal to sort out my daily goals while the inspiration is flowing, noting what I had accomplished the day before. Joy comes from reading other author’s books when I’m not writing, then reviewing those books in an honest and uplifting way.

The beauty of being a newbie author is that there is still so much learning to do! It excites me to review a great book, but challenges me in my writing to deliver the same caliber stories as the wonderful books I love to read.

So, where do I fit within the grand scheme of things? SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE 🙂 Can’t say that I’m disappointed, either.

I consider myself average. I don’t torture myself over unwritten words anymore when life calls. Because when life calls, there is where the well starts filling. How else do people continue to write books, if not to some extent weaving those stories from their own lives, observing the wise ones who walk their talk, then implement that new-found wisdom to benefit their situation?

It’s simple. They (and I) don’t.

Keep writing. Keep dreaming and doing. Continue to strategize and implement. Don’t be afraid to step back, stay silent until able to grasp your true footing, and Punch Fear in The Face. Whatever you do, try not to feed your fears.

©LaurieKozlowski 2015, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction permitted unless given by the author.

Thanks for reading. Have a wonderful week. Stay warm! Burr….

Commenter Question of The Day: 

Can you remember an instance when what you thought was a weakness turned into a strength? 

Confident Parenting ( Past Judgement and Fear ) #Parenting #Moms #Dads

There has been a ton of articles on mental health issues lately.

I started A Motherhood Memoir about a year and a half ago. It was a piece touching on post-partum depression, and I didn’t think it would have gotten welcome reception then. But now…I still hesitate.

Some thoughts are better left unsaid or unpublished. In my private journal is one thing–but to put it out here for the world to see is also putting my daughter at risk for certain privacy issues. There is no way to write about it without it also reflecting on her in some way. Since I love her more than life, certain thoughts will remain dead in concerns to publishing them online.

It is also quite a leap to go from writing romance fiction to press into the non-fiction world of memoir writing.

I am not an expert on mental health or parenting, but do know there are a few insights I can offer to those who may have been or are going through many of the same things.

However, there is still a desire to express this story. If you’ve tuned into Heart-to-Heart with Kyrian Lyndon on her worldwide blog talk radio show, you have heard her interview me about issues I’ve held back on discussing until recently.

A couple of things we talk about is mental health and the effects of childhood abuse. I share a beautiful memory of me and my mom sitting by a heater during a thunderstorm as the oil lamp burns.

And so though I will go through and write more about my challenges and overcoming depression as a (then) new mother, it will be from a better place of gratefulness (now.)

I’m able to see the positive aspects during those challenges, so as to note that point in life as a time for better understanding and learning to nurture myself and my daughter without apprehension.

Every parent worries, but coming from a place where childhood abuse shaped my way of life–I was beyond worried about my daughter on every occasion.

The anxiety sucked the life from me knowing any and every trip to the grocery store, to church, or even to a day at the playground was a full-fledged emergency waiting to happen. Especially when she was around the ages of three and four.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. Many parents (especially new parents) continue to feel isolated and alone, even when they take actions to un-isolate themselves.

Everyone has an image ingrained on what makes a good parent. There may be a few who do not hesitate to shove their wisdom down the throats of struggling or discouraged parents in the middle of a poop-smearing or snot-rocket storm right before that comfortable and big event for childless parents, grandparents, friends, and/or family.

Of course, they mean well, but it isn’t always the perfect timing when these issues do arise. In fact, you can count on it not being the perfect time–ever.

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[Image credit: quoteswave.com]

I think what pulls so many away from well-intentioned advice is when it is shaming or meant to cause guilt. At times, those people have no clue that they have rubbed a parent the wrong way by saying things like “Santa is still in the store, but he’s leaving in ten minutes.” (When it would take the parent over ten minutes to even get to the line for Santa.) <<<< This happened to Zoko and I just before Christmas. I wanted to ask the lady if she had a clue as to what her words were causing…but it would be a waste of breath.

You learn that as you go. What battles to fight and which ones to leave alone. It’s often best to Let it go.

There are occasionally people who want to stir the pot on your parenting abilities. Keep in mind that their snarky or sometimes very harsh comparisons or advice are only reflections of their insecurities. Even when it is in humor!

It is important to your eye on what works instead of what isn’t working. Remember, people speak from their own experiences, NOT YOURS. (I have to remind myself this all the time because I’m one of those people who will hug you, buy you dinner, and rub your back if you cry, but I will also sock your lights out if I witness you saying meany-butt things to hurt my kid’s feelings.)

I encourage any parent who feels condemned or shunned by their efforts to remember this list of reminders. I’ve seen my daughter flourish in the past six years because I stay aware of these things:

* By choosing not to adopt others’ perceptions of your parenting, you are freeing yourself to give your child what he/she needs the most–love and security in a way only you can give it.

* When your children see how you are not affected by other parents or critics comments, they learn true confidence takes restraint and discipline. They learn how to focus inward on what they do right and how to improve, instead of what they do wrong, causing low self-esteem and doubt.

* Your children will be a reflection of yourself and behaviors. Imitation is not a bad thing when you parent on *your* terms, keeping in mind the love, safety, and wellbeing of your child is in your capable hands. It also does no good to go around paranoid about your every action and how it affects them because though a child imitates many of your actions, you both are human and will make mistakes. If they learn no one makes mistakes, it could cause the opposite affect…a lack of compassion and love toward others and/or themselves.

* It teaches your children how to be actively aware of conflicts and resolve them amicably, without physical, emotional, or verbal violence.

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[Image credit: smartmom.co]

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2015 is a new year and new start! First and foremost, it is easy to continue doing the same old thing. Continue to pile on the guilt for not spending that extra few minutes with the little one before bedtime because you’re tired and preparing for the next day. Or you may over-commit yourself to focusing on your child’s worries instead of taking time to slow down and find a reasonable or new solution that could make you both happy.

Let’s leave those things in the past. The doubt. The worry. The guilt over the small stuff. The outside opinions that rile us up and cause discouragement either unintentionally or intentionally. Take away from those moments what is constructive, learn from them, and say “bye, bye, bye” to the rest. Even the New Kids on The Block agree. See!

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[Image credit: scottradecenter.com]

(Those random rock-star poses say “YES, these random audience members and our higher stage lighting power agrees, too!”)

Trust that the love, safety, support, and attention you give your little one(s) is sufficient because you have what it takes.

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Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!