Humor · Inspiration · Movies

Sleep is for the WEAK. Unless You’re Human.

A few friends and I joke about being vampires because we work indoors all day, and we love to read all night. It’s a notable quality to have a sense of humor when life is busy or throws unexpected “OMG. Why is this happening?” moments our way. I’d like to forewarn you, this post will be a bunch of weird, rambling musings. I’m pretty sure my head might fall to the floor and roll around at any moment. No worries, it’s detachable head syndrome. I pick it right back up, and it fits back on my shoulders until it falls off again.

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Image credit: pumpkincraze.com 

I’ve undergone a lot of the “OMG” moments while simultaneously also thinking “Wow. This is really happening.”

A month ago, when I had time to watch television without losing sleep, the current season of the show Nashville ended. It may have ended before that, but the fog is thick in memory lately, so go with it. 😉 Anyway. Nashville is an over-the-top drama that I find entertaining and funny. I am sad to see the season end so until next season is on Netflix; I’m watching Monarch of the Glen.

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I found the new-to-me show on BBC and I love it. This thought leads me to an “OMG” : O.M.G. I apparently have the feels for countryside mini-series in whatever country around the world.

Buy me a bonnet, I’m bonnie!

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It’s possible to walk through a pasture used for parking and not step in a cow-pie. For those who aren’t familiar with what a cow-pie is: it is cow or bull poo. My daughter and I walked a half a mile, some of it through uneven pastureland used for parking at the Fall Festival. It was worth it to see my husband cross the finish line in his first 5k race. I wanted a picture of him, but my phone went dead, but here’s his smiling and handsome face. Next to him is my nephew who ran beside him.

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This leads me to another OMG thought: O.M.G. I am so proud of my husband for running his first 5k. I’m glad I didn’t sprain and ankle carrying the cooler with their drinks in it through the field. Thank you, cows, for not leaving your crap in our immediate path.

I knew from the start that writing is a full-time job with minimal pay–if any–until years from starting the journey two years ago. I’m still swimming in the writing waters with an optimistic spirit though some days seem more jaded than others. I know I am meant to write and publish, and I’m at peace with the decisions I make in writing. I’m exceptionally happy to have gotten in with Booktrope Publishing and work with team professionals. All this happening over the course of a couple of years leads me to another OMG: O.M.G. the book that first started as a popular blog series has transformed into viable word-baby novella that a publisher loves.

But to be fair–I loved it first 🙂

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Serendipity Summer — To be released October, 2015

In Laurie Kozlowski’s contemporary romance novella, Serendipity Summer, friends once separated by life’s unexpected challenges discover they have a second chance at love in the charming mountain town of Riverbend, Tennessee. Jake and Anna reunite during a sensual, late-night swim and restoring an old inn together blasts their chemistry off the charts. But as destiny urges their hearts forward, intruding secrets from the past threaten their opportunity to finally have lasting happiness.
Serendipity Summer is the first book in the Riverbend Way series and reflects small-town life, includes some comical relief, and incorporates heartwarming characters who triumph over difficult life circumstances.
Please note: Serendipity Summer contains detailed sex scenes and occasional strong language. This series is recommended only for those 18 years and older.

This post concludes a few O.M.G. meandering thoughts swirling around in my brain. If you have any to share, put ’em in comments (‘omg’ thoughts, I mean. Please do not leave your brains in comments. The comment section of this post is a brain-removal free zone. lol) I’d love to hear about them. 🙂

Flash Fiction · Health and Wellness · Humor · Inspiration · Laurie's Works Of Fiction · Mental Health · Movies · Music · Musings · Uncategorized · Writing · Writing Life · Writing Tips

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


Fitness · Health and Wellness · Humor · Inspiration · Movies · Musings

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? 😉 

Contemporary Romance · Fiction · Giveaways · Humor · Inspiration · Musings · Relationships · Writing · Writing Life

‘Everyone Is Irish’ Day and Book Giveaway! #stpattiesday #romanticfiction

Saint Patrick’s Day is one of the most celebrated holidays around the world. It seems like everyone is Irish or wants to be.

As Saint Patrick’s day approaches, I love to see the smiling faces. Everyone is in a better mood because the sun is shining, and the flowers are blooming. The formally frozen castles of the Irish and want-to-be kinship are bustling with hearty food. (bless the people who haven’t given up the resolution to eat salads for a lifetime.) Uplifting music boasts across borders and nations in celebration as parades unite us all. And uninhibited exhibitions of love and happiness that could get us all arrested are (mostly) acceptable on St. Patrick’s Day.

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Carolyn Geis, left, kisses Irish Air Corps Pipe and Drum member, Terry Healy, on the cheek during Savannah, Georgia’s 190-year-old St. Patrick’s Day parade on Monday, March 17, 2014. Kissing men in uniform is a tradition during the celebration in Georgia’s oldest city. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton) {Image credit, accuweather.com }

Though the original phrase “Luck of the Irish” was an old mining expression that carried a distinct tone of derision, the Irish holiday proves to be a way the world disagrees.

I remember my father giving me a crystal tea set, made in Ireland. Since we’d reunited only a few months before, he couldn’t have known I loved Irish made collectables such as those. I now use the tea set when my daughter and I have tea parties. I like to think that although he didn’t know my gift preferences, luck had played a part in the special birthday gift. It was certainly a blessing to see my entire family around the table for the first time.

My father and I are not close, but I am happy this year to be spending St. Pattie’s Day with my husband and daughter. Like so many around the world, I will have a smile on my face. Life has given me an opportunity to build on the unconditional love of my little family and great friendships. I believe in love and luck and blessings.

I also believe that great things come to those who work hard and wait. For two years, I’ve been blogging and writing fiction. Here is my most recent stroke of luck/blessings/serendipity, posted to my Facebook Author page:

I’m pleased to announce the first book of the Riverbend Way series–Serendipity Summer–will now be represented by a new publisher. I’ve signed with Booktrope, a growing publishing company based out of Seattle, Washington.

“Serendipity Summer,” contemporary romance/womens fiction novella was originally independently published, released in November of 2014. It has now opened the door to work with an exclusive creative team through Booktrope while I focus on writing and developing the series.
No woman/man is an island when it comes to writing, producing, and publishing a book. It takes a small village to do all of it and spread the word. Those who have extended to me their expertise throughout this journey, I am eternally grateful. My sincerest thanks for jumping aboard on this journey.
I’m happy to share this moment with my daughter and husband. They have both seen me through the hills and valleys these first two years of a writing career. I’m thrilled “Serendipity Summer” has opened a door to work with Booktrope and a creative team to take this series to the next level.
Thank you all for believing in “Serendipity Summer” as much as I have. Your readership, shares, reviews, and various avenues of support have lighted the path to wonderful possibilities and opportunities!

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To show my appreciation for your support, 
I'm giving away an e-book copy of Serendipity Summer 
to a random commenter. To be eligible to win, answer 
this question: what would be your idea of an extreme 
stroke of luck? (eg.,"winning a lottery ticket", "paying
off my kid's tuition," "being able to meet my favorite 
celebrity.") Don't forget to leave your name and email in 
the comments section so I can send you the book if you win. 
The winner will be announced on upcoming blog post, 
3.23.2015. Good luck!

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Health and Wellness · Inspiration · Mental Health · Messy Muses Childrens Book Project · Musings · Parenthood

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? 

Humor · Inspiration · Music · Musings · Relationships · Writing · Writing Life

Private Eye #badboys #humor #shopping

“Did you encounter a man in the women’s department who looked suspicious?” An attractive blonde woman, about early thirties and who rang up my items at the cash register asked me.

I was there for yarn. For colorful, soft yarn and possibly chocolate, because of being emotional. I had no idea about a suspicious man in the women’s department though I’d also added to the items a couple pair of sweatpants to accommodate the chocolate coma I expected to ensue later that evening.

“I uhm…suspicious man?” I asked.

The kind lady continued our discussion in a low whisper. “Yes. Apparently a strange man is lurking in the women’s department saying he’s doing research for a communications project, but he’s looking for women’s animal print panties!” She shook her head as if the man had committed a carnal sin for wanting animal print women’s panties.

I had an image of Duce Bigelow, Male Gigolo in my head and tried not to snort as strip music thumped in the brain. The cashier’s deadpan expression urged me to laugh out loud, but I held it in. Maybe like the guy “researching” was doing now, depending on his Monday panties or Friday panties. Weekends are made for thongs. But I digress.

“Ohhh nooo.” I attempted to sound disturbed. Not too hard to do, these days!

She nodded. “Yep. So if you see a guy wander around, the manager has warned him off. Hopefully, it’s no big deal.”

She sounded doubtful. I was on the verge of a cough-laugh because the “threat” was a real concern to her. I didn’t want to discount her claim of the wild panty thief under the guise of a mere communications research project.

What is love…baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more. Whoooaaa oh-oh whoahhhoaaa…

I squeezed my eyelids to tune “The Night at The Roxbury” by Haddaway music out of my head and focused on the cashier.
“But I didn’t see…”

“$39.95, please!” She stated my total.

When had I spent so much? YARN and CHOCOLATE. What the hell.

I paid up and smiled. “Oh, I’m sure it will be okay. Though, I’m sure there were better ways for him to go about researching for…whatever.”

The cashier widened her eyes and nodded. “I know! The women’s department! How weird,” she said.

“There are weird people everywhere. Seriously.” I smiled again.

“That’s the truth.” The friendly cashier shook her head but smiled back.

©LaurieKozlowski 2016-Present, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction permitted unless given by the author.

Health and Wellness · Humor · Inspiration · Mental Health · Messy Muses Childrens Book Project · Music · Musings · My Motherhood Memoir · Parenthood · Parenting · Relationships · Writing · Writing Tips

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]

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<………………..>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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!