Living in the Today

It feels like every other day there is an awful shooting or act of terrorism. But sadly, I heard a stat that there have been more mass shootings than actual calendar days of the year so far.

I think it makes all of us feel helpless as we sit watching the news, hugging our family, not knowing how to protect them. My daughters are five and three years old, so they haven’t had to hear about all of this. But soon they will, and I worry they will fear for the future, like I sometimes do. And more than anything, it makes me sad that they will lose that sense of innocence.

San Bernardino two days ago, Paris the other day, Beirut, etc. It feels sad to even write “ETC.” but it goes on and on. I can’t help but wonder what the solution is, how do we handle this sadness, scariness, and evil that is everywhere today?

Last night I realized I needed to stop watching and start living.

  • We need to live in the today.
  • We need to stand tall for our beliefs.
  • We need to love our family and friends more.
  • We need to believe and act as though every day counts. 

And when these tragedies happen, we need to urge everyone around us to support each other and find a solution. All of our neighbors, family members, state and national government should be held accountable for keeping each other safe. There’s a grave disconnect with mental illness and the constant threat of terrorism, and we need to figure out how to identify these issues and stop them before they happen. How can we live in such a progressive country, yet be afraid to send our kids to school?

I hope that you will find strength in something in your life, and hold onto that the next time tragedy hits.

In the meantime, live and love deeply.

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Why is it so hard to ask for help?

It was a particularly rainy afternoon and I was waiting for my 2 1/2 year old to get up from her nap.

It was after 4 PM when I was finally able to drag the two kids with me to the grocery store. I put one in the cart seat and one in the actual cart so that they wouldn’t run through the store, in hopes that we could get this done quickly.

Two bathroom trips (yes, that was TWO) and 90 minutes later, we’re finally trying to get out of the store. And I had already forgotten two things. Too bad.

I’m trying to unload and check out and my youngest starts crying because she can’t reach the food to “help me out” and put things on the check out. My older daughter is counting the chocolate bars by touching each one on the side of the aisle.

The cart is overflowing and I’m trying to get the kids jackets on, pay and get out the door, when my youngest falls sideways and of course, hits her head on the cart.

Now she’s really crying.

“Do you need help out?” the store clerk asks.

“No, no,” I say as I’m trying to push the kids forward and out of the way so the next customer could pay. I lean down, trying to console my youngest.

“Does she need an ice pack?” another clerk asks me.

“No, thank you, she’s okay. We’re just trying to get out of here. It’s been a long trip, so to speak,” I said and honestly, I could not get out of the store fast enough.

“Do you want me to help you out?” this store clerk asks.

“No, thank you. We’re just trying to go,” I say as I’m trying to get the girls to follow me, jackets on, etc.

“Here, let me push the cart. You can get the girls,” she said.

And she pushed the cart out for me, while I put my kids’ hoods up, held their hands as we crossed the street to our car. And then she unloaded the cart into my car.

I couldn’t thank her enough.

The lady that stood behind me at the check out line was parked near me and said, “I’ve been there before. I’m so glad that lady helped you out.”

I smiled at her. I was too.

She continued, “I don’t know why the clerk asked you if you needed help. She should know we ALWAYS say no, but we really mean yes.”

Today is Opposite Day

It’s funny how we decide to label ourselves. For the past decade, I’ve called myself a non runner.

But the truth is I HATE RUNNING. It just doesn’t agree with me, my knees, my body, etc.

So for years, I’ve taken up yoga, spinning and other ways to sweat and stay healthy, but I always thought how nice it would be to just go for a run and clear your head.

But that’s not who I am, I tell myself. I need a class for motivation. I need someone to tell me what to do, otherwise I won’t do it.

The thing is, when I start running, my legs itch, tingle and drive me crazy. Does that happen to anyone? It only happens when I run. I was suckered into a half marathon once and that seemed to go away but then my knee cap seemed to wither away with it so I figured that was a sign.

But today, I am a few months out from going on a vacation and it’s time to burn some calories. I double checked my 30 day free gym pass and thought…it’s time.

So I did it. I went to the gym. And that ugly treadmill just stared at me. There weren’t any classes going on, it was just me and the treadmill.

So I ran, without issue, for 25 minutes.

THAT’S HUGE (for me). I could almost hear the Rocky fight song in my head as I stepped off because today, I have defeated whatever barriers stood in the way.

It got me thinking, what else is holding me back?

Click here to hear your fight song: What does Rocky tell you?

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Photo courtesy of NIKE, Inc.

Life is Sweet, Make it Sweeter

I wanted to say, life is short. Sometimes too short. We never know how long we have on earth and sometimes we’re so sucked into the day-to-day ramblings, that we forget to take a pause, or a time out (as my daughter would say, though her time outs are a little different…).

A neighbor that I met through a writing event last summer was literally blogging  less than a month ago about being thankful, and an hour later, she and her husband were hit by a car while crossing the street.

My daughters and I just so happened to be driving by, what had to be moments after the accident, and saw a fire truck and ambulances. Not much happens in our smaller town that sits adjacent to Portland, so traffic slowed. My girls were peppering me with questions, “what happened? was it a person? will they be okay?”

I could see EMT crouching over someone in the middle of the road/cross walk and all I could think was that hopefully someone just felt faint, nothing more. As we drove on, I told my girls to say a little prayer that they’re okay, and we went on about our evening.

Last weekend, I opened the newspaper and my neighbor is on the front page, telling her story about how an elderly man hit her and her husband with his car, and by the grace of God, they survived.

The feelings are overwhelming…and I couldn’t believe we drove right past her. It seems like we should’ve been able to do something to help. She and her husband have a long recovery ahead of them, but she gets to spend more time with her family and friends.

She will no doubt appreciate life differently. It shouldn’t take something horrific to make the rest of us stop, take a moment and hug those close. Maybe smell the flowers.

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It was that kind of morning…

Isn’t it amazing how much influences us and our day? Every morning it’s usually chaos, getting the kids dressed and off to school/activities in between work and life.

This morning, there was no yelling or “that’s mine!” coming from the family room as I got breakfast ready.

There was no “that’s not fair” or “she pushed me.”

I heard two little girls playing, nicely. One even said, “I love you” to the other.

Wow.

So this morning in the car on the way to school, they continued sharing and the car was filled with giggles, instead of angry words.

“You two really make me happy when you’re smiling and having fun,” I said.

“Are we becoming big girls?” Avery asked.

Maybe they’ll go back to bickering tomorrow, but for today, I’m holding on to this.

As Ice Cube says, “Today was a good day.”

Where will we be in 2015?

When I was younger, 2015 seemed so very far away.  Can you believe that Back to the Future 2 had us dreaming about Hover Boards and Flying Cars?

It’s amazing to think how far we’ve come in terms of medicine and smart technology, but then again, some of the most important world issues are still nagging us.

But Great Scott, self lacing shoes? Yes, please!

But when I read things like, “Bill Gates wants to turn poop into drinking water,” I think wow, have we arrived?

Here’s to an interesting year, and possibly some automatic dog walkers, Pepsi Perfect or phone glasses…

Happy New Year, enjoy!

Back to the Future 2 Movie Trailer

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Finding an Agent is Like Dating All Over Again

It’s true, finding “the one,” the right agent for an author is like dating, all over again. Since I had met my husband before online dating was really a thing, I feel like I’m cast back into the dating pool, trying to get to know a number of agents online. You do your proper cyberstalking, you know, online research to figure out what kind of authors they’re into and what their really looking for in someone.

It’s amazing how active a number of agents are on Twitter. You can learn so much about what their interests are, query tips and more. And one fine day, you actually decide to insert yourself into a conversation on Twitter with an agent. That’s when it sets in, questions fill your mind.

If you’ve queried this agent already, and they tweet you back, you start questioning yourself…what does this mean? Are they thinking about me/my book? Do they know I’ve queried them?

When they provide a #pubtip #querytip (usually what not to do), you secretly hope they AREN’T talking about you then.  An agent recently Tweeted that she was jealous of the manuscript her colleague was reading…and you wish, now, that they were talking about you.

If you’re lucky enough to attend a conference with one-on-one pitch sessions, then welcome to speed dating! You better have your elevator pitch ready and wipe off the sweaty palms. Once you take a seat, you’ve got less than 10 minutes to make an impression and see if there’s a connection. I recently attended a conference and was exhausted by the end of the weekend. But at the end of the day, I was so thankful to have met some really great agents.

So essentially, the life of an author comes down to speed dating and online dating…and maybe you’ll find the one, yet.

 

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Letter to My Daughters

Dear little ones,

I wanted to write you a letter to read when you’re older because life gets complicated, life gets busy, and you get busy with your complicated life.

Please remember that you can do anything you want in life. I want you to repeat this to yourself, like I do with you now. When we get older, we seem to come up with a million excuses or reasons why we shouldn’t try to do something. But I believe in you and I know you’re amazing.

Don’t give your heart out to everyone but give it fully to those you trust. A full heart makes for a happy life. You’ll never regret loving someone with all that you have.

Don’t trust everything you hear. People say a lot of things that don’t make sense. Remember who you are and decide for yourself.

Be a dreamer. Never stop.

Never compromise who you are. Feel confident enough in yourself to say what you believe and be strong enough to stand criticism. Others will learn from you if you can do that and it’s a great thing to pass along vs bullying.

No regrets. We all make mistakes, learn from them.

Don’t be a bully.

Don’t ever let yourself be bullied. Stand up for yourself no matter the stakes. Or at least call your mom.

Always know that you can come home. And that your mom has a hug waiting for you.

Caveat: Also, please know that mama has been around the block. Thereby, there shall be no sneaking out of your ground level windows. I will be standing outside upon your return. No closed doors with a boy in the house. Otherwise that party for two will become three.

At the end of the day, I’m still going to try to hold you in my arms even when you’re an adult. So slow down, enjoy life and don’t try to grow up so fast.

Love,

your mom.

 Letter to my Daughters