Health and Wellness · Musings · Relationships · Weight Loss · Writing · WritingPosts2016

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

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? 😉 

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? 

Contemporary Romance · Fiction · Giveaways · Laurie's Works Of Fiction · Writing · Writing Life

Serendipity Summer by Laurie Kozlowski *Cover Reveal* #Amwriting #Romance

In case you missed it on Facebook (I hop back and forth these days), I’m excited to share the cover of my debut contemporary romance novella, Serendipity Summer!

Serendipity Summer is the first book, of four, in the Riverbend Way series, set in the rustic and charming mountain town of  Riverbend Way, Tennessee. I’ve enjoyed developing the main characters and the side characters–including a couple of memorable animals that will make a regular appearance, throughout the series. I have wanted to hold on to the story for a while, now–but as everything has been coming together nicely, and just for the sake of making sure everything is just how I want it, the release date has been adjusted to the last week of October.

I am still learning the publishing ropes, so if anything changes, I will be sure to post the changes, and keep you updated. All should go well, though, because I’ve published, once before. I’m looking forward to having a release day celebration with giveaways and prizes! This is an exciting time! I have had the honor of being invited to be featured at a book signing event and have begun to order swag and promo items in preparation for my first release! (more details to come.)

Without readers, we authors wouldn’t be able to do what we do–so, thank you!

I am still tweaking the blurb, but I’d like to share the first teaser–and the second teaser (not yet posted to Facebook), of Serendipity Summer. But first, take a look at this beauty of a cover The Killion Group designed for me with images from Hot Damn Designs!

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 ****Teaser #1****

Her gaze traveled back up to his gorgeous eyes.

Eyes looking upon her with a familiar heat she’d seen only once before.

She struggled not to choke on the water as it dawned on her who was standing before her. A man who had made it into many of her dreams, but never, permanently into her life.

 

****Teaser #2****

The sound was far off in the distance, but Jake gradually became aware he was the person being observed as an older and feminine voice chimed in.


“No, Kady-bug. Not your Uncle Trevor. Just a friend of Mommy’s. We were having a sleepover.”


Jake resisted the urge to chuckle and kept his eyes closed to listen in.


“Why is he on the couch, in a suit, and not in jammies?” the young girl asked.


“Sometimes at sleepovers, not everyone wears jammies. They can sleep where ever they want to.”


Anna indulged the girl.


Now trying to swallow down a full-fledged belly laugh, Jake hid the grin on his face, knowing Anna would be angry as hell if he continued to pretend to sleep while the kid put her through the great inquisition.


Finally letting a deep chuckle go, he opened heavy eyes.

~ Serendipity Summer by Laurie Kozlowski ~ Copyright, 2014.

 

Contemporary Romance · Erotic Fiction · Fiction · Humor · Inspiration · Musings · Writing · Writing Life · Writing Tips

Proving And Proofing Yourself As A REAL Author

Who is the better, smartest, most valuable, and successful author? One writer works years to write a 400-page book best-selling series. Another writer works for months on scraps of time to push together an (eventually) best-selling series of short stories.

So, which of these two writers have proved themselves to earn the honorable title of AUTHOR? First of all, I’d like to take a chance at offending any and all egos of writers and authors everywhere. The most obvious thing that stands as a ginormous roadblock on the way to each of our successes: Stop the comparisons. It’s killing your dreams

I’m not sure how many times I’ve rolled over in my mind for the past year negative thoughts concerning forging forward as a writer. In case anyone else has gone through this, I’m going to state my negative thoughts and reveal the actuality.

KILLER COMPARISON #1 – I don’t have the resources other successful authors have to write and publish a book and be successful myself.

ACTUALITY #1 – Shut it. Do you mean to tell me Indie authors such as Jasinda Wilder, Beverly Kendall, Bella Andre, and Bella Street got handed a silver spoon then suddenly POOF! – Miraculous transformation into the life of proven authorship! No. Hell, no. They, like every other writer, was first and foremost doubtful. The difference is–They informed themselves, persisted, took chances and finished something.

Are you a mother or father of three in debt up to your eyeballs feeling trapped by the daily grind – but hey, you can write amazing short stories in the spare time you make for yourself like Jasinda Wilder? YOU HAVE THE RESOURCES. Pen, paper, a free blog to voice your work. There are Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for promotions (not a good idea to spam links, btw. But interacting and building relationships creates opportunity for those you connect with and yourself when those “big breakthroughs” happen. They will happen, so don’t give up!)

Hmm..where was I? Oh!

There are free apps for your freaking android phone to post to your blog on the fly, FREE publishing through Createspace on Amazon. COMPARISON DEBUNKED.

KILLER COMPARISON #2 – I don’t have the time other writers have to write. The quality of my work is suffering; for this reason, my writing is an unattractive hemorrhoid on the buttocks of the most revered authors of all time.

ACTUALITY #2 – Sit your (hopefully hemorrhoid-free) ass down for ten solitary minutes a day and write something. Hell, think about what you’ll write in the next 10-minute break and jot down your ideas when you hide from your family in the locked bathroom (not that I’d ever do that 😉 )

Three ten-minute breaks a day – no distractions, focus, quiet – is 30 minutes toward your goal. You’re furthering yourself, developing your style and voice, and most importantly producing something that is meaningful to you. Think small goals: complete them, celebrate them, then continue working toward the big picture for your future. Whatever you do, keep reminders around of your progress and continue on the path of most resistance.

The more you challenge yourself to stay flexible while pursuing your dreams, the less cumbersome you’ll feel during the journey. You’ll begin to value your system of progress as goals unfold before your eyes. It will be fuel to continue.

Now all you have to do is put that paragraph, poem, short story, instructional manual on How Many Licks It Takes to Get to The Center of a Tootsie-Pop–if that’s your thing–write it and put yourself out there.

KILLER COMPARISON #3 – It’s overwhelming. I don’t have the support or connections other writers have.

ACTUALITY #3 – I’m going to be gentler here. Time to out myself, once again.

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Do you realize how many days I’ve told myself, “no one cares about the story I want to tell.” Or, “I have nothing of intelligent value to contribute because I prefer simpler-stated and more direct jargon.” OR – this one was a real winner – “writers have suffered in silence for ages. I don’t need to let anyone in because it may hurt my creative groove.” (Um. Reluctant ego butthurt, much?)

Here’s the thing I’m learning about support and connections. Both are acquired over time and require a whole heck of a lot of persistent effort. I’ve had to seek support continuously. It’s an on-going thing, where you draw from several avenues and resources to finally find somewhere where you’re at home and feel comfortable. You have to nurture these connections and support avenues so they are beneficial.

Something I’ve had to keep in mind is to stay fluid and tolerant of my real life situations. Right now I’m usually MIA during prime social media hours because I have a young child, need to take care of my health, and nurture my marriage more. It’s (mostly) accepted in my household now (after a lot of verbal scuffles) that I need my writing time. I just DO. My family is happier because I’m happier, and so forth.

First and foremost, I write. The way life is going now I feel the wisest way to connect with others is to keep those connections behind the scenes. Writing groups and a few good friends who are gracious enough to share writing tips and resources as I stay involved when I’m able to, help.

Find what works for you, but try to keep writing something.

KILLER COMPARISON #4 – I don’t have the voice or influence other writers have to make things happen for myself.

ACTUALITY #4 – I vote we all synchronize our social media channels to simultaneously crash in the event we make an event out of our insecurities.

Everyone is scared. Not many openly admit it, but they are.

Something that has helped me is to voice my insecurities. It could be through a journal entry or a fiction story or blabbing into thin air – but I work them out. I’m learning it is vital to appreciate weaknesses as well as strengths without discouraging myself into a loop of never-ending discontentment.

You never know who may need to hear what you have to say until you say it. 

If you go around all hunky-dory happy smiley face, then suddenly quit – you can be sure it wasn’t a sudden decision to give up on yourself. You’ve nurtured that negativity by ignoring your problems. I’ve done this so many times I’ve lost count. Now I’m beginning to recognize this pattern and change it.

Remember to be open to others as they share their experiences with you. Most writers want to lift one another up. Don’t worry about the haters – let them hang themselves with their own rope.

WHEW. I had a lot to say on this. Thanks for staying with me and making it through this far. Something lit my fire, and I wanted to share with you the inspiration as I’m coming along with the writing. I hope you take something valuable from this post and can use it to help inspire yourself and others. I’m reminding myself to have fun along the way and think outside the box.

Now only one question remains: Who wants to tackle the daunting task of writing the instructional manual on how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie-Pop? 😉

I’m sure whomever it is will PROVE themselves to be REAL author if they’ll only just try. 🙂

Inspiration · Music · Musings · Uncategorized · Writing · Writing Life

Music Motivation: The Best Day Of My Life by American Authors

An uplifting song has a way of keeping a person moving during the most  difficult times. Today, I’m sharing a song I frequently listen to and enjoy. I hope it puts a “spring” in your step as we all look forward to more warmth and sun while the season progresses. It’s okay to dance and sing off key 😉

Enjoy!

American Authors –Best Day of My Life

DO YOU HAVE A GO-TO SONG THAT MOTIVATES YOU? IF YOU DO, SHARE THE LOVE IN THE COMMENTS SECTION OF THIS POST BY POSTING A LINK TO YOUR FAVORITE SONG, SO I AND OTHERS WILL BE ABLE TO ENJOY IT TOO! 🙂

Health and Wellness · Humor · Inspiration · Musings · My Motherhood Memoir · Parenthood · Relationships · Things That Matter · Writing · Writing Life · Writing Tips

Parenting, Forging A Writing Career, And A Birthday Wish For My Daughter

I think most people have wondered if the “grass is greener on the other side.” If they haven’t, well….they may be smoking the very cannabis (for medicinal purposes – of course) near the greener grass and be oblivious of envy.

If everyone (including myself) who is caught up in catching up with others would  just water their own damn grass it probably wouldn’t be so dried up and brittle and they wouldn’t be envious of something that DOESN’T EXIST. I DO have a point here: keeping a balance between work life, family, and health is much the same way.  

When I was dating my husband I made a solemn vow to myself: I would NEVER dedicate my life to house and home – leading a boring life day in and day out of cleaning, cooking, and serving people while losing myself in the process. The thought of leading this kind of life gave me the impression of weakness and incompetence…certainly, I was capable of MORE than just being a stay-at-home MOM and WIFE.

Then I squeezed out a 7 lb, cone-headed, drooling bundle of precious wonder and tucked her inside my post-maternity gown for the very first time – right upon my beating heart. The heat from her tiny, warm body lay snug against my skin, and in that moment my heart swelled with uncertain emotion. I stroked her soft hair and saw her tiny lips – she had a small chin like mine. She was so quiet and calm until she was hungry, much like I am when I get hangry (so hungry, it makes you angry and affects your mood.) I wondered if I had what it took to give her the life she deserved, and deducted at that time, I was just glad to have a healthy and happy baby. If I had done anything right in life, it was having her in my arms just then.

Next, life happened. A few days after she was born I finally took a look at my body in the mirror, touched my stomach, and cried. My navel wasn’t in the same place as it was before my pregnancy – it was like I was looking at a distorted version of my former self and the body wasn’t mine. I looked down as the tears continued falling to the floor to see my ankles were still swollen. In an effort to “pull up my boot straps” and keep going, I was unforgiving of the fact that my body and emotions needed time to recover from the labor, birth, and the shock of transitioning over from life as I knew it to the never-ending duties of being a Mom. I remember my husband holding me and telling me I was beautiful – I’m almost certain he wrapped his arms around me, touching my stomach as I cringed and shook my head in disbelief. We took on the roles of early parenthood together, but our experiences were so different it pushed us away from one another.

I tried to become that woman I vowed I NEVER wanted to be. I only managed to accomplish ONE of those things really well in the first few years of my daughter’s life: taking care of her wants and needs day in and day out. I THOUGHT I WAS A FAILURE THEN, BUT TODAY REALIZE IT IS THE BEST THING I HAVE DONE OR EVER WILL DO WITH MY LIFE. Being here for her whenever she needs me. Being available to her when she wants to spend time with me. Giving up the things I thought were most important in life (like my pre-pregnancy body and consistent peaceful alone time)…for her. If my husband hadn’t consistently shown his commitment to our family so much, I would say the love of my daughter is the deepest love I’ve ever known. There is no contest, really. The love I share with both of them is making my life what it is today.

I never thought I’d say this: I LOVE BEING A MOM. I freaking love the hell out of it. I love it now that she is in school and more independent, but at the same time I’m scared of that independence because she’s needing me less and less each day. So when she asks me to cuddle or read to her when I’m in the middle of a critical plot-boosting scene, I STOP TO HUG HER AND READ WITH HER A FAVORITE STORY. When she’s taking skating lessons, instead of having that time to write or work on a story outline while a trainer takes over, I GO OUT THERE AND SKATE WITH HER. Instead of staying up late at night to catch up on my social media platform and network with colleagues and friends, I’m trying to do something special with her each evening before her bedtime.

*Sigh* I’m not saying that I don’t have what it takes to be a writer – I think I do. I’m just saying that today, on my daughter’s birthday, I’m giving us both a break. I’ve realized that every writer has their own unique family and relationship situations that have to balance out with their career from home. It’s hard to turn off work mode when a person works from home, but it has to be done.

I have a young daughter, and this is a time in her life that I don’t want to be too busy for. It may take me longer than I would like to make it through several rough drafts before jumping into the publishing pool, but it will happen as it happens. I may have to re-evaluate my goals several times as situations arise during this constant learning process in parenting, but I’ll stick with it and keep writing. 

I’d like to thank everyone who is following my blog and has been supportive through various social media channels to help me get this far. I’ve connected with some really great people who have offered guidance and advice as I go along this journey as a writer and have had the joy of interacting with those who visit and comment. I am so truly appreciative of your support.

It’s a tough thing – forging a writing career, taking care of family duties, and remembering if you don’t take care of your health you may not be around long enough to have more memories.

I want to conclude this post in a positive way and let you know I’ll be back here soon blogging my brains out when I’m able to do so. In the meantime, I’ll be writing and sharing time with family, occasionally on Twitter and Facebook when time allows to let you know of my writing progress on Sweet Texas Temptation – the first book in the Lonely Hearts In Texas Series.

*Please note: the former Lonely Hearts In Texas Series has been re-named. It is now the Riverbend Way series as of August 2014. All copyrights still stand. Thanks.*

I also want to wish my daughter (whose head is now mostly round, has lips that won’t stop talking, and still gets cranky when hungry) a very happy birthday. I love you, Skina-Marinky-Do.

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