A New Season


Much like the weather, our lives tend to run in seasons. We have seasons of growth, where we learn new things, such as our college years, or learning to care for an aging parent.  We have seasons of winter, where things seem dead, cold, brittle. Perhaps just after a breakup, the death of a loved one, or even the death of our dreams. We have seasons of a long hot summer, where things seem to drag on, the heat gets to us,  but we keep going and try to keep our thirst quenched.

My husband and I are coming out of a season of summer. You do the things that are necessary because they need to be done, and after a while the long hot days can wear you down. We’ve been plugging along, not making much gains, doing life as it comes, and being responsible – or in other words, adulting. Let me tell you, adulting sucks! Being responsible sucks. Being a responsible adult isn’t fun, but on the flipside, being a responsible person, or people, we can’t accept the consequences of not being responsible therefore we continue in our responsibilities. Does that make sense?  It made sense in my head.

In March, my Mother in law had a hemorrhagic stroke.  This has not been fun, but this is one of those things life throws at you and you have to deal with it.  MY friend Emily’s fiancee was in the hospital for his heart and had to postpone her wedding and their trip to the US. These are things life throws at us that we don’t sign up for.

These are the unexpected crisis that demand our attention, and we either learn to cope,  have a fall apart, or some combination of the two.

However, we can see the sunlight after the storm.  My Mother in law has made a lot of improvement and the doctor thinks she will continue to improve, and possibly regain her independence.  Hallelujah! I start a new job at the end of the month after Memorial Day, in a totally different field than what my degree is in,  but it’s something that sounds exciting to me, certainly more exciting than crunching numbers doing mortgages!

Our eldest daughter finished her last full semester of college, all that remains for her to graduate is her student teaching, and she got an assignment at a premier school district in St. Louis. In a few weeks, we will move her back here, or rather up the road a little further to share an apartment with one of her good friends.

Our youngest daughter just changed jobs, is ready to purchase a car and is talking of moving out sometime in June to share a house with a few of her friends.

I have other news pertaining to writing that is fantastic, but I can’t share it just yet. It’s good news though.

I shared with Misty, “You better pinch me, I think I’m dreaming. It’s like everything suddenly is falling into place, the storm is clearing and the rainbow is in the sky.”

It has been a long hard summer for us, in our lives. The stress has gotten to me on more than one occasion and I’ve crumbled under emotional strain, reverted to bad habits, cried, pouted, and lots of other things I won’t even mention.

A part of me is looking around, wondering when the other shoe will fall. I keep trying to tell that part to shut up, and stop expecting the worst. Isn’t it about time we deserve a break? Isn’t it about time we start reaping some rewards and have some good in our lives?

Anyone else ever feel like that?

I’m not saying that our lives suck, because they don’t. We have plenty of good things in our lives. The thing is though, we’ve been under a lot of stress for what seems like a looooooooooong time. It’s sort of like after the storm passes, and the sky is brilliant blue. There are some branches or twigs scattered across the lawn,  water is flowing across the driveway, and the relief is tangilbe that the storm has passed. The only thing left is to clean up the debris and celebrate that we survived.

That’s kind of how I feel right now, like we need to celebrate for making it through the long drought summer, but we can’t celebrate too soon because some of the things haven’t actually happened yet. Soon, but not yet.

We are definitely entering a new season. We may be entering a season of sandwich – with one adult child at home and possibly an aging parent in our home. That is undecided yet – and potentially she can go back to her own home.

I’m starting a new job that I see as rewarding, exciting, and is something I am fully confident that I can do. I am entering the world of caregiver – for pay. I did it for my mother without compensation, I raised my kids, it seems like an easy fit to me and the way  the job came about is an odd story in itself. Not looking to get rich, but have a little cushion with all of the medical bills I’ve accumulated.

Our plans to move were put on hold yet again. Once we know  where things stand with his Mom, we can move forward again.

It’s all good! I feel like we should be singing that song from Wizard of Oz, “You’re out of the woods” or Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing”.

I’ve heard people refer to my mother as a tough ol’bird, well I guess I take after her a lot more than I’d like to admit because I’m one tough chick!

On another note, I tend to do better with fitting my writing in when I have to have a schedule – point being – I have little to show for my writing since becoming unemployed in December. Whether from pouting, wasting time, going through stuff, or just making excuses to explain away my lack of productivity, I did much better without an open ended schedule.

I’d be willing to bet that there are many of you who are coming out of a dark dreary season, and are relieved to see the post storm rainbow in the sky. I know I can’t be the only one.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

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I’m a Survivor


Hello!  Is anybody out there?

*tap tap tap*

I want to get off this crazy carousel that my life has been this past month! 

I had plans and goals –  they’ve been tossed out the window.  I’ve had intentions but we know how many roads are paved with those, right?

So, to catch you up to where things are with me:

  • Have been all but living at the hospital – ICU, waiting room, regular room, and now rehab center.
  • Have NOT had the focus nor the time to do any writing.
  • Have NOT made any progress on Fury, thus my release date will be pushed back.
  •  Have managed to piss off family – something  I seem to be a pro at.
  • Have been derailed from my progress with the green smoothies by existing on hospital cafeteria foods -yuck.

Now to get back on track, and take control back over at least part of our lives.

My BFF Misty referred me to an awesome video that I am going to share at the end, that really hit home with me. Thanks Misty,  I so needed that!

Life for the past few weeks has been in a complete state of turmoil. In any sort of family crisis, tensions are high and people lash out and blame others for everything.   Trust me,  I get it.  I understand why; still doesn’t make it right. So in addition to feeling emotionally like everyone’s whipping girl, the self-doubt, the self-criticism for failing to meet my goals had me at the bottom of the pit, not even daring to look up to see how far I had to climb out.

So what do you do when life deals you a raw hand? Do you lash out? Do you roll over and play dead? Do you take it? Blame others? OR do you set your face like flint and muster through it?

It’s never fun – never! Regardless of how you deal with it.  But how you deal with it is the most important single element to determining how your life will be in the future.

It’s not about what life deals you,  it’s how you deal with the life you’ve been given.

I so want to rant and out everyone’s indiscretions, their finger pointing,  the unfairness, but what will that help? NOTHING

Even when you feel that it’s a situation that you can’t overcome, you probably can but it’s going to come down to your attitude, and what you do with it.

I was sexually abused from age 3 to 10. THAT does NOT define me.  I let it overshadow me, make me feel like damaged goods,  like I was good for nothing for too many years until I learned not to be a victim.  I WAS a victim as a child,  but I am a SURVIVOR!

I faced rejection from my mother, and have had many other issues because of those roots of rejection.  BUT, that does not define me. My mother made her choices, as I have made choices to love and respect her and value the good in life. I WAS rejected by my mother, but I am a SURVIVOR! I want my children to know they were wanted, planned and are loved every day of their lives!

I was diagnosed with cancer, which completely turned my life on end. I WAS a cancer patient,  I AM a Survivor!

The current drama life is violently shoving in my face -amateur! You clearly don’t know who you are dealing with here. Let me clarify for you – I am a survivor! 

I will deal with whatever comes my way. As Kelly Clarkson sings – What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller, Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone. What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter, footsteps even lighter, doesn’t mean I’m over ’cause you’re gone.

I’m not going to roll over and play dead.  I’m not going to keep taking the hits and not fight back. If I get knocked down, I’ll get back up. Life deals us some tough blows, so I take the time to recover and get back up.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring.  Nobody does! but I will face it head on. Change is scary. Being the one to  make the necessary changes is scary. That’s OK. I’ve stared Cancer in the face.

I was going to play catch up on my A to Z Challenge for April, but that seemed less important than the motivational  words to shake off the muck and mire.  I hope you got something out of this.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

 

Old Habits Die A Slow and Painful Death


Week 9: Stress Eating: The Whys and Wherefores

Happy March!
Welcome to week 9 of the MFRW Blog hop. IT’s ironic that this is the topic for the week. I have a lot of opinions about this. You might want to buckle up!

Bad diet protection food concept with a group of greasy fatty fast food falling down like rain and a green umbrella stopping the unhealthy food as a metaphor for poor nutrition and changing eating habits.

I have had a lifetime of bad eating habits, stress eating, overeating, junk food – you name it. I hate to keep throwing the big C card out there,  but, here I go again. Before cancer, I never took care of myself.  Who cared if I ate wrong? Who cared if I self-medicated with food? Seriously,  I knew I ate poorly.  I knew I ate too much and too much of the wrong foods. I was stuck in the cycle:   emotional eating/ fasting/ scarfing down whatever/ fasting/ binging/ emotional eating.
Everything in life was handled with food from as early as I can remember.
Oh you had a bad day? I’ll make you a cake.
You got all A’s? I’ll make a cake, we should celebrate. 
It’s your birthday? Let’s have cake. 
You lied to me? NO cake for you. 
That’s a bit simplified,  but essentially that’s how it was. My mother was an excellent baker. Breads, pies, cakes –  Mom’s tasted better than any bakery near us.  However, I was not a fan of her regular cooking. In a way,  that helped me later on, because I learned to cook for myself and my family.
I developed a sweet tooth early on. In the past, my stress eating was sweets. I have eaten a whole pan of brownies before. Not proud of it,  but there it is.
Today,  I’d give my right arm for a decent sugar-free brownie –  LOL
However, since  I can no longer have sugar, and my cravings for sugar have subsided quite a while ago, . . . my stress eating is more along the snack crackers and chips variety. Keep in mind,  I can’t eat many processed foods so most chips are off the menu. I have found a few that I can have.
Sun Chips, Veggie Chips, Sweet potato chips. wheat thins and triscuits.
At the end of January and part way through February I was waiting to hear the results of a biopsy as to whether or not I had a recurrence of cancer.  It came back benign by the way thank God! For two weeks I stress ate oranges like they were going out of style.  I consumed 3 bags of oyster crackers alone. I ate an entire bag of sun chips in 2 days. OH, I disguised the need for so many crackers with creamy soups but I ate the rest like they were chips.
I felt miserable.  I was stuffed. I  gained back 6 pounds in a matter of weeks. I knew I had to stop, but the stress and fear had a firm grip on me at the time.
The day I got the results, I can not even begin to tell you the relief that flooded over me. I threw out the partial boxes of crackers, the remaining dregs of chips and vowed to get back on my healthy eating plan. I had to face my dietician with these facts as well.
She was like, What happened? She got the entire detailed story.
It just so happened that the next day,  I saw a challenge in a Facebook group and figured – why not!
It was a challenge to drink a green smoothie every day.
I have read about and heard a lot of talk about green smoothies but they are rather off-putting.  You want me to drink spinach? You’ve got to be kidding me.
I had alread given away all of the clothes that are too large for me.  I don’t want them around “in case” I gain weight. NOPE NOPE NOPE
I was bloated, frustrated with myself and at rock bottom. Fine –  I’ll do it. Thinking as I am going into this,  I deserved to be punished.
Wow! Let me tell you how wrong I was! I tried a couple different variations of the green smoothie, some I liked a couple not so much. Kale is of the devil!
Green Smoothie 1:
3/4 cup fresh spinach
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 banana
3/4cup frozen mango
6 ice cubes and 1 cup water
Green smoothie 2:
3/4 cup combination spinach and kale
1 tbsp chia seeds
3/4 mixed berries
1 banana
1 cup cold water
Green smoothie 3:
3/4 cup spinach
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 banana
frozen mixed fruit ( mango pineapple peach and strawberry)
1/2 lemon
I lost six pounds and I feel more energy.  Even better, I haven’t been sick for two weeks.  That is a record since I began taking cancer meds.
So, even though I was able to put a halt  to the stress eating, I reverted right back to those nasty old habits, proving that old habits are hard to kill and when they are replaced,  they still die a slow painful death.
 What do you stress eat? Do you stress eat? What do you do to NOT stress eat?
Share your thoughts in a comment below! IF you want to hear what other authors have to say about this –  go check them out HERE.
Write on my friends, write on!

Connections


IN case you wondered, I”m not dead!

My internet has been. We had a series of storms come through and it knocked out power. When we got our power back,  we realized that we didn’t have any internet. It’s been weeks!

I didn’t realize how dependent on the internet I had become. Yes,  I ‘ve had very real withdrawal symptoms. I’ve had to go to local businesses to use their wifi in order to finish work related business. I’m not trying to be overly dramatic about this. I’ve had to budget my time a little differently is all.

It’s still not working correctly,  but my husband has managed to “redneck fix” it. NO duct tape was involved.

This couldn’t have happened at a worse time.

My new book just released. I’ve not been able to get on to order print books to have available. I ordered a few for prizes from release parties,  but that’s it. Then I find out that 2 recipients did not receive their prize packages –  but USPS tracking says they were delivered. I get it,  we have our mail delivered to wrong addresses all the time. It’s still frustrating though.

You’d think with all this time offline,  I’d have volumes written,  but I don’t.  I have made progress on the second book, and I’m in chapter 6.  I may start sharing some snippets from both – don’t even know if anyone would be interested in them.

I’ve taken my connections for granted, I’ll be the first to admit. I like having my wifi connections.  I like being able to scroll through my tablet from the comfort of my sofa.  I like being able to check facebook with my morning coffee.  I like being able to write a blog post when I have something to say – which is often. OF course, you’d never know it from the past few weeks, now would you?

So, I plan to get back into the saddle as soon as things get straightened out,  but in the meantime,  I have to budget my online time between the library and our local YMCA. After spending an hour and a half in my aquacize class, spending another couple of hours sitting in their lobby is not my idea of a good time. Besides,  I’m hungry after the classes!

Until next time,  be thankful you have internet!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

What Can I Say?


Welcome to my blog!

For the month of June, I planned to post 30 Days of Definition, well . . . if you’ve stopped by this past week,  you know I haven’t managed to do that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I managed to get the first week in –  defining moments. Sort of.

You know,  it’s like as soon as I make a plan to do X the universe conspires to make sure it doesn’t happen. Yes, that is an exaggeration,  but it sure seems like it at times.

What’s been happening in my world? Aside from the panic that comes with book publishing after the revisions are dead, I’ve been swamped in the day job. That and a general malaise that I”m trying to overcome with a change in medicines. (Have I said lately that Cancer sucks?)

I feel really bad now because I invited other bloggers to participate in this and I haven’t even managed to post.

Today I’m going to touch on something that defines us as individuals.  Or rather me.

I read a book once, can’t remember the title,  but in the first chapter, it asked –  how do we define ourselves. Without using our usual monackers of mom, wife, sister, our job – what defines US.

I had a tough time with this, and it really made me think. Beware, we’re going to the deep end.

We are not defined by our jobs-  that’s what we do. We are not defined by our titles or monackers – mom, sister, wife.  I was me before I became a mom. It changed me sure,  but I was still me.

It’s not achievements we’ve made, the laurels we have achieved, or battles we’ve won.

So truly, what defines me as different than everyone else? What makes me stand out from the crowd or am I just one in a crowd of lemmings?

I have to be honest,  I didn’t finish the book because it sent me into a tailspin. Since then, I’ve still thought on this many times.

This is the conclusion that I’ve come to: the essence of what defines us as individuals is ultimately our soul. It’s how you treat other people. It’s your humanity, your compassion, your personality, your strengths and weaknesses, and the love that you show towards your fellow human being.

Human being – not those who are the same religion as you, same skin color as you, speak the same language, or have the same lifestyle.

I’ve shared my faith before and I am appalled at the hatred and prejudice that comes from many claiming to be Christians.  All of us are in the same human condition – flawed, broken, and mortal.

Love is the answer!

Seriously, would you expect anything less from a romance author? Wait let me amend that –  a romance author and paranormal fantasy suspense author.

The Awakening: Book 1 of the Valkyrie’s Curse series releases on June 20th! Yes, I had to get that in there-  I’m proud of my accomplishment and  I think this one will blow you away!!!

 

 

The Awakening 

Helena Eskildson is obsessed with Vikings and Norse Mythology. Neither Helena nor her sister know they are Freya’s daughters – Valkyries, the shieldmaidens to Odin.
When her obsession leads her to a remote site at Roskilde and it’s two monolithic rune stones, her destiny is awakened.
While the team wages a battle between a cursed site and a sociopathic killer, time is ticking closer to Ragnarok.
Will her friends be able to save her before the gjallerhorn sounds?

 

Available now on PReorder for $0.99

 

Write on my friends, write on!

Nothing Goes As Planned


Welcome to my blog!

I’ve been doing the MFRW blog hop for a while, kind of hit or miss.  I’ve tried to get back onto the WEWRIWA Sunday Snippets, mostly off. Things have been hectic and overwhelming lately, so of course, I decided to do a new thing! You know how I love new things!

For the month of June, I will be posting Definition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first week is defining moments.

de·fin·ing mo·ment

noun
plural noun: defining moments
          an event that typifies or determines all subsequently related occurrences.
~~~~~~~~~
And this is where things have gone terribly off track!
Seriously, I had a plan outlined and scheduled to write on for each day this month.
Then, Tuesday through Thursday,  I was neck deep in it getting my manuscript ready to send to the editor and formatter.
I was determined to get it sent out to the point I have neglected my housework, preparing proper meals (What adult has a PBJ for dinner one night and BLT the next?), and pretty much everything else in order to make certain that I had my t’s crossed and i’s dotted.
So here’s what I’m going to do since I’m a few days behind.  I”m going to give you the abbreviated versions of the other Defining Moments.

Day 5 – Public Speaking

I am an extrovert. I’m the kind of extrovert that most introverts hate.  I will talk to strangers in an elevator.  I will smile and say how you doing to a stranger as I pass them in the hallway.  In fact, I will confront someone who is doing something uncouth.  Don’t get me wrong,  I’m not going to be stupid about it.

When my mother was in the hospital numerous times,  I hate that ‘get on the elevator and stare straight ahead and don’t talk to anyone’ thing.  The guy is holding a plant with a Congratulations on a new baby balloon – heck yeah I’m going to comment “Good news I see”  Or if it’s nothing so obvious I’ll comment about the weather –  whether it’s hot, cold, raining, or gorgeous.

Most people will respond with at least a nod.  Here’s the thing though,  our society has been teaching kids for ages “Don’t talk to strangers”.  But, in a self-defense class, one of the things that they said was rapists and muggers will target the fearful.  I don’t cower.  I don’t walk with my shoulders slumped,  or curved inward.  I walk with my head held high and if a guy is coming towards me with intent to harm me,  I’m going to make the biggest loudest scene I can. 98% of criminals will walk the other way and wait for an easier target.

For that 2% –  I have pepper spray and know some maneuvers to protect myself.  Anyway,  this isn’t about not making myself a victim.  This is about the extrovert thing.

When I was in college and had to give a presentation to the department staff for my senior theses, I was shaking like a leaf.  When I was first asked to speak publicly it was awkward,  filled with OK, and ummms,  but I lived.  The next time it was easier.  If I have the time to add lib a little I can have the audience laughing.

I’ve mentioned before that I try to use the EIEIO method, it seems to work for me. Along with informing and educating,  you have to entertain them at least a little.  If you can do that you can keep their attention.

OK, well it may help that I’ve been told that I should be a stand-up comedian as well.  Not going to happen,  but I use the sense of humor to help with speaking.  My largest crowd so far has only been about 150 people which is small,  but I’m not done yet.

Day 6 -Moment of Clarity

I really don’t have a better way of describing this. So here goes.

Several months ago, the doctor prescribed a medication for me to deal with the increased anxiety after the cancer diagnosis.  Part of that is I can’t “cope” with the same habits I had before.  I am a stress eater.  I have self-medicated myself most of my life to avoid the feels, the hurts, and the emotions. Just being honest. If you have ever watched Biggest Loser,  you’d see that the majority of fatties are in the same boat.  It’s not the simple formula of less food in more calorie output equals weight loss.

Why does someone eat themselves up to 200, 250, 300 or more pounds? It’s insulation.  Insulation from having to deal with life.  Having to deal with our past.  Having to deal with emotional wounds and baggage.

So I can’t do that anymore,  most of the “comfort foods” I would turn to are now off the menu because of the big C. Hence, the increased anxiety.

So I was taking this medicine and my daughter commented that I was considerably more chill.  IF it weren’t for some very bad side effects that I couldn’t live with,  it really did help. During the time I was taking it,  I could see clearly the issues.  I could see that the problem was that I had all these emotional issues that I would have formerly turned to food and that wasn’t an option. I’ve said before,  the best diet in the world doesn’t fix the most important six inches.

During one of those moments of clarity, I was reading some articles that the dietician had directed me to, and one of them was a quiz for a food addict. I got a perfect score! NO, that’s not a good thing.  I had to say yes to every single question. I never put two and two together,  but after answering those questions,  I can see it.

Trigger foods that cause that reaction inside my body or head,  that I have to have more. The biggest triggers across the board are sugar, carbs, chocolate, fast foods, and most junk foods.  A new study shows that the brains of women with food addictions are similar to drug addictions and an alcoholic. Since then, I’ve recognized the cycle and been able to stop before binging.  I”m happy to say I’ve stayed on the wagon.

We all have our issues,  don’t judge.

DAY 7- The Big C

Cancer has a way of leveling the playing field.  One day, you’re carefree and even though you know you’re not immortal, you plan to live to a ripe old age and spoil grandbabies and cause a ruckus at the old folk’s home. (I’ve already warned my kids that if they stick me in a home it better be in Florida or I’ll be causing a scene weekly.)

Then one day you get a diagnosis that literally changes your life. Cancer is an equal opportunity bastard of a disease. It doesn’t care what race, religion, persuasion, financial status, or age you are.

At first, I was in shock. I’ve shared before that from the date of diagnosis to the day of surgery was a whirlwind that didn’t give me time to think.  It’s just as well. It was during the radiation treatment while taking the oral medications that I had a true “Come to Jesus” moment.

I was slapped in my face with my own mortality, and I very much view this as a second chance to get it right.  What was important to me?

What did I want to accomplish in my life?

What would my legacy be?

The most important thing to me is my family. I decided that I would make certain to spend time with my family, including my siblings and extended family.

I wanted to publish as many of my books as I could get out.  I looked at the pace I was going and realized that I was a long way from getting even half of them out if I didn’t kick it into gear. When I first tried to sit down and write,  I couldn’t focus.  My mind was blank.  I cried numerous times thinking that I may have lost my opportunity. However,  after radiation was over and I was slowly beginning to recover,  it started coming back to me and I was determined in a way that I was never determined before.

I don’t even care if people don’t like Roxy Sings the Blues,  it will forever be an important milestone to me because I managed to finish that after Cancer. It made me realize that if I wanted to achieve my goals, I was going to have to put out a concerted effort which meant I have to focus.

There are many other moments in our lives that we could say are defining moments and many other moments.  It’s what we do with those moments that matter.

What are your defining moments?

Write on my friends, write on!

Resignation/Retirement


WElcome to my blog!

I’ve been doing the MFRW blog hop for a while, kind of hit or miss.  I’ve tried to get back onto the WEWRIWA Sunday Snippets, mostly off. Things have been hectic and overwhelming lately, so of course, I decided to do a new thing!

For the month of June, I will be posting Definition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first week is defining moments.

de·fin·ing mo·ment

noun
plural noun: defining moments
          an event that typifies or determines all subsequently related occurrences.

DAY 4 – Resignation/Retirement

For most of my young adult l had focused on career. Graduation from high school was briefly celebrated as I moved to the next stepping stone – college. College was a means to an end – a well-paying career.

I had already made the decision that the double major of forensic anthropology wasn’t going to work, and focusing on cartography. My father worked for Defense Mapping Agency and urged me to pursue cartography.  It’s currently known as National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. Cartographers make good money –  I mean, really good money.

Life was great. I was in a department that I enjoyed and had worked my way up to target expert in the digital productions division. I was a shoe-in for the position after working in points during Desert Storm.  I liked what I was doing and I was good at it!

Then I delivered my second child. I returned to work after maternity leave,  but my daughter caught RSV virus at the daycare that we had our children in and ended up in the hospital.  My husband and I alternated who would take off work to stay with her. The opportunity came up to do a buyout, and essentially retire. We ran the numbers and I was shocked to see that despite my great salary,  I was essentially working for 5 an hour after gas, auto maintenance, and daycare expenses. The decision was easier to make after seeing the numbers, and the nudge that made the decision final was another admission to the hospital for my baby. It’s hard to see your child under an oxygen tent, and that was the last straw.  I had to stay home with my kids.

Before that, I identified myself as what I did in my job. I was identifying myself as a mom also,  but when people say tell me about yourself,  the government employment came first.  I was proud of my job, proud of my work,  and proud of who I was.

IT was quite a shock to only be a “mom” for a while.  Don’t get me wrong please,  I love my kids with everything I am. It’s just that I was a professional for ten years before kids. It took some adjustments.

I loved those years though,  and so glad that we made the decision because I was able to raise my children, not someone at a daycare. Which of course means that anything they are screwed up about is on me!

I enjoyed the majority of those years.  I would trade the vomit in a heartbeat, but everything else – priceless!

OUr kids have turned out to be amazing young adults that I am so very proud of, I guess maybe I did a few things right or I was just blessed with amazing kids.

Anyway, leave a comment and brag about your kids if you want!

WRite on my friends, write on!

Tasty Treats!


In my quest for finding recipes that I can eat and don’t taste like cardboard, or consist of a bowl of kale. . . I’ve come across a few winners.

So, I decided to share a few of those with you here.

My dietary constraints are cancer and diabetes. Sugar-free is an absolute necessity, and with diabetes, low carb count is essential as well.

I have been cooking with whole grains, fresh foods, mostly lean proteins – fish and poultry, and very few processed foods of any sort.

I feel great most of the time. I feel so much healthier than I was at this time last year. Small changes add up to big results.

Here’s a tasty recipe if you want to make just one healthy switch in your diet.

Banana – Blueberry Muffins

  • servings – 12 muffins
  • Prep – 20 minutes, Bake 15 minutes
  • Oven – 400 F

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1  cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar ( I use Swerve baking brown sugar substitute)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup mashed ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 400.F Grease 12 muffin cups. set aside.

In a medium bowl stir together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture, set aside. IN another bowl, combine banana, milk, butter, egg, and vanilla.

Add banana mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Batter will be lumpy. Fold in blueberries. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. filling each about three-fourths full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cool on wire rack, just five minutes then serve warm.

Nutritional info per muffin: 172 calories,  4 g total fat, (3 g saturated with real butter) 11 mg cholesterol, 135 mg sodium, 25 grams of carbs, 3 g protein.

I gotta be honest,  I used a few more blueberries than the recommended amount. What can I say, I like blueberries!

It’s good to have nutritious tasty foods! Hope you enjoy. Let me know if you try the recipe and what you think! Write on my friends, write on!

Get Your Mojo On!


Monday morning, rise and shine! It’s a new beginning, a fresh start, a day for opportunities to abound! 

Don’t even talk to me before I’ve had my coffee.

Then get your coffee Ms. Crabpatch and get busy. Just take a look at the gorgeous sky.

Do you realize the temperatures are in the single digits? Maybe I’ll just crawl back into bed.

Now is that any way to accomplish your goals? Where’s your resolve for those plans you made? Are you giving up that quickly?

~~~~~

Please tell me I’m not the only one who has those self-talks.  It’s like the angel on one shoulder, demon on the other, each of them whispering into my head, but I have to make the choice.

It’s true –  the week is full of opportunities. Monday is the start of a fresh new week, a chance to have this week count as a success in my planner. Before I started using my bullet journal,  I had plans in my head.  I kept a mental to-do list and rarely got past the first two.

But then I discovered the bullet journal! This amazing tool is priceless to me.  I don’t keep it up every day, and I’m not going to stress over that.  Life has gotten pretty crazy over the past year and I’ve learned to chill out and do what I can and go with the flow when I need to.

One of the ways that I feel that my bullet journal, or bujo for short, has helped me is that I have my daily to-do list. When I first started,  I wrote out my daily wishlist as my todo list. It looked something like this:

  • Housekeeping (sweep, mop, vacuum, clean counter, clean bathrooms, dust, clear clutter out of living room)
  • writing – blog, Point #3, 2 scenes, 2500 words
  • exercise – walking, aquacise, weights
  • appointment if I had one that day
  • MLO job – correspondence with emails, check sop updates, check rates, make calls, upload documents.

Now my daily to-do list looks more like this:

  • MLO job -make calls, correspondence, upload documents, etc ( there really isn’t much I can do to change what needs to be done at a job that someone else is paying me to do a specific job.)
  • HOusekeeping: chore of the day – focused on one room
  • Writing -1000 words minimum,
  • exercise: aquacize 45 minutes
  • Scheduled appointments

At first glance, you may not notice a big difference but it’s there. realistically, I know I am not going to get the entire house clean in one day. I’ve decided to focus on one area per day. Since I’ve been doing it this way, my house is cleaner. It’s not where I want it to be yet, but that’s because of the clutter. Much improved, but still room for more improvement.

I have to do certain tasks for the dayjob, so that doesn’t change other than I don’t stress out about it like I used to. There are days when I only get a couple tasks completed, and that’s OK. Some processes take longer than others.

My daily word count used to be 2500. It will go back up to that but for now, I am trying to hit at least 1000 words daily. To be honest,  on days when I have appointments or therapy, it may not happen. Last Friday I had an appointment, I couldn’t concentrate before the appointment,  then afterwards I crashed! I didn’t realize that I had been so keyed up over that appointment,  but apparently I was. I got a whole whopping 460 words last Friday –  I still count that as a win because I got some words.

My point is, back to the opportunities; by not putting a bunch of constraints on my schedule,  I have the flexibility to adapt to those urgent things that pop up unexpected.  Before, I never allowed ten minutes downtime so if anything happened, anything,  I was stressed and freaking out because I didn’t have the wiggle room. For instance –  being stuck in traffic. I sat in traffic for nearly 2 hours on a drive that should have been thirty-five minutes. It was aggravating,  but I took the opportunity to enjoy the music on the radio.  It was soothing. What could have been a very stressful 2 hours turned out to be calming. I couldn’t do anything about it anyway but in the past I would have been biting my nails, yelling at the moron driver who caused the accident up ahead and probably using some colorful metaphors in my monolog!

We can take the opportunity to take charge of our lives,  how we deal with what life throws at us or we can take the approach that we are helpless victims being tossed about by the wind and waves. The storms are going to happen so be prepared! Some of them can be avoided. Sometimes we get caught out in the rain. Other times, we have plenty of warning.

Seize the day while you can!

By the way, I stayed up, I went to my exercise class, I did the things, and I feel better for it. Regret is a hard task master that I plan to avoid! There is nothing that can beat you down faster than a bad case of the ‘should-haves’.

Is there one thing that you can do today to improve your outlook or  decrease your stress levels?

Write on my friends, write on!

Nontoxic Zone


I know it’s been a while since I made my “cancer” posts. It occurred to me last week that I hadn’t finished my series that I started. I really hate it when I do that! You have my sincere apologies.

Today, let’s wrap that up! First, let’s have a little review since it’s been so long. (In my defense, I’ve been going to lymphedema therapy two to three times a week and it takes three hours of my time every time I go unless I get stuck in rush hour traffic, in which case it took four hours.)

On August 28th, I posted No Cancer formed against me.  In this post, I kicked off my series about the four areas that you can protect yourself from getting cancer, or have a recurrence of cancer.

Much of what I’ve shared has been gleaned from hours of research. In this post I shared

that much like diabetes, cancer can be self-inflicted.

But how? 

There are four areas that we can have control of whether or not we get cancer or get a recurrence of cancer.  Once you have been diagnosed with cancer,  there is always a risk of it returning. You’re always looking over your shoulder.  I want to put as much distance between me and cancer as I can.

So, logic would dictate:

IF I CAUSED THIS,  THEN I CAN FIX THIS.

There are four areas that we can take control:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Activity
  3. Stress Management
  4. Toxins

The next post covers Nutrition. You can find that one here: Proper Nutrition for Preventing Cancer Recurrence. The diet plan outlined by my doctor and nutritionist closely resembles the Mediterranean diet, based on the MyPlate system. Mostly vegetables, lean protein, some fruit, and dairy. It is a carb restrictive diet, but not carb free. It seems to be working, I’ve lost nearly 40 pounds. WOOHOO!

Now I just need to keep it up. I will say this,  the longer I go, the easier it gets.  I had to go back to checking my portions last week. I’ve been stressed with physical issues from lymphedema, and the long drive to and from the appointments stuck in traffic, and had gravitated towards larger portions and heavy carb comfort foods. I know, these things shouldn’t really cause stress, but they do. It seems to me that little things get to me more than they used to, which is yet another reason to learn to deal with stress.

I’ve discovered that chicken and dumplings are off my menu, spaghetti is off limits, white potatoes in just about any variety is a no-no, and I have to limit my fruit to very small portions.  I’ve gone back to measuring my portions, and making sure to check the labels for whole grains.

I’m thankful for the cooler weather because I can make soup. Soup is very satisfying to me. I know it’s a comfort food, remembering when my mother would make a huge pot of her vegetable soup on cold winter days. A bonus with having soup,  the broth helps to keep you hydrated.

The next post covers exercise: You’ve Got To Move It!

All copyrights of this photo belong to Jenny Sugar.

In this post, I shared the pitiful state of where I was after coming off of radiation. It was sad! I could barely do ten minutes on the treadmill. Now I regularly participate in an aquacise class at the Y, Monday through Friday. I take two classes back to back actually,  one is in the shallow end, the other is deep water.  I love the deep water one, I can really feel my heart rate go up in that one.

This is what my doctor recommended for me with the lymphedema, and with the joint pain caused by the medications I have to take. Good thing I enjoy it!  On weekends, we go for walks at the park, do housework, yard work, and usually end up doing far more than the recommended 30 minutes.

Next, I shared about stress management: Chill Out!

I covered some of the stress management things that were suggested to me, and the things that I actually do. I would still like to try Tai Chi but haven’t found a class.  The adult coloring books are therapeutic! I have procured rocks and have painted them. I promise pictures to follow.

ladybug, dragonfly on leaf, ocean Son of a Beach, and a fairy house. The other three belong to my daughter.

Which leads us to the fourth area that you can control, or at least practice some control over  – toxins. 

The easiest place to eliminate toxins in our food. If the ingredients on the labels include some preservatives and chemicals that you can’t pronounce,  then don’t eat it!  We no longer eat anything that is processed.  No more Doritos! No boxed dinners. No frozen prepackaged foods.

I buy chicken, turkey, fish, and seafood frozen. The only preservatives on them may be a saline solution. Salt has long been used as a preservative and I thankfully don’t have a problem with sodium. Our fruit and vegetables are bought fresh which means I have to take the time to clean them, chop and cook them. We rarely use the microwave –   it damages the phytonutrients in your vegetables.

The second place to eliminate toxins is in our home. Be careful of the cleaning products that you use.  My immune system is still very weak. I rented a Rug Doctor because the carpet was a disaster. I have never had such a terrible reaction to anything in my life! I had red blotches all over me, I couldn’t seem to catch my breath, had that tickle at the back of my throat that I couldn’t get rid of. This was the last time I will ever buy those chemically laden rug shampoo detergent. Very soon we will have hardwood flooring. We’ve known carpet was bad for allergens anyway, but now I have an even better reason to get those hardwood floors I’ve been wanting!

Laundry soap  – look at the harsh chemicals in your detergent. This affects the clothes that you put on your body every day, some in more intimate areas than others, as well as your bedding. You spend 6 to 8 hours every day between the sheets, and if you have one of those harsh chemical detergents,  is it any wonder that I was having a rash over my legs?

Shampoo and conditioner –  do you really know what you are putting on your head?

Burning candles can produce toxins especially if you are using cheap discount store candles.

Certain construction materials can emit chemicals into your home.  If your home is made of those particle board panels which a lot of newer homes are,  then your home itself can be emitting formaldehyde into your living space! Crazy right?

We can’t really do anything about the pollutants in the air around us other than not contribute to it,  but we can be aware of our own space.

I’m not trying to be a scaredy cat over every little thing.  I’ve become aware of these things because of the effects it is or has had on my weakened immune system.  It would be the same for an elderly person, or a small child. We don’t want to expose our kids to poisons! We’ve got to open our eyes to the things that are causing us issues.

 

Quotidiandose does not own the rights to this image, all rights reserved to artist.

Here’s an example of a toxin in foods –  I used to love Lucky Charms cereal. I loved those little marshmallows in it. Of course, the sugar-laden oaties were good too,  but I really loved the marshmallows.  Then I read the ingredients after someone burst my bubble.  They contained TSP –  trisodium phosphate. Do you know what that is?????

It’s a product that you use with heavy rubber gloves to clean the grime off of your walls before you paint! If we have to wear rubber gloves to protect our skin, should we really be ingesting it?  I haven’t eaten a single bite of Lucky charms or their generic ever since.

The kicker is,  this is FDA approved,  that it has “tolerable” levels that are accepted to be in our food source. Not in my food it isn’t!

Be kind to yourself and become aware of what you put into and on your body. Don’t wait until you hear the diagnosis of cancer, be proactive. I am much more aware now, I wish I had been from the start!

Sorry, it has taken me so long to wrap this up. It has been weighing on my mind ever since I first started this series back in August.

I hope that some of this information is helpful to you.

Write on my friends, write on!