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Perspective

I’ve been mulling this conversation over in my head for the past year. And what a year it’s been. But the subjects are building and if I wait any longer, it will turn into a novel and nobody will want to read it.

I’m reading so many posts anti-Trump/anti-Obama, women’s march/anti-women’s march, politically correct/anti-politically correct. I can go on. The subjects are endless and it seems like people are searching for anything to argue about. The one thing that I’ve noticed as I’ve sat back (well, most of the time) is that these subjects are black and white, defined lines. Nothing is monochrome or blurry. Is that accurate or true? I’m here to say in my opinion that I don’t think it is.

My entire life when I have encountered a person who has done a kindness on another, I have always told them, “Bless your heart.” And I’ve meant it. I have wished miracles and blessings upon them and their heart because they were so kind to another. As I’ve found out recently, that term doesn’t mean the same to me as it does to others. For awhile I struggled with not saying it because I didn’t want to offend anyone. Then I realized that how I say and mean it makes a huge difference. I say it with love, kindness and sincerity. It is never misconstrued as an insult. So I am back to blessing a kind person’s heart and soul. It feels good and right to me. But I never post it in a text or social media because without hearing the words, it could easily be twisted and taken completely out of context.

This presidential thing. Oy vey, are we in a mess. Again, black or white. I’d like to point out the monochrome I mentioned earlier. As a human being, I respect Obama and absolutely adore Michelle. She is graceful and classy. As a president, no, I didn’t like Obama. I didn’t respect the decisions he made as a president that affected the town I lived in, my husband’s job and healthcare. We lived in fear for eight years, wondering when we were going to lose everything.

I also don’t believe that everyone should enjoy the same benefits in life. My entire working life, which started at a very young life, I have struggled. I’ve put in 14-16 hour days, sometimes two or three jobs to get where I am at today. I’m still not where I want to be but I’m getting there. Why should I help pay someone else’s way, who is not my family, to live a lifestyle similar to mine while they choose to stay at home and do nothing? If you want cell phones, cars, eating at restaurants, a nice roof over your head then work for it. If you physically can’t (legitimately, not some excuse) then there are programs out there but they shouldn’t be paying for your Escalade, cell phones and designer sunglasses.

While Trump scares the bejimminies out of me, I also agree that there needs to be a change. We were not all created equal, hard work is a reality, life isn’t fair is truth. Things happen. Destroying property that isn’t your own shows how far the pendulum has swung in the direction of immaturity. Our laws have become so slack that you can break the law and not worry about being punished. Heck, with the right attorney you won’t even get a slap on the wrist. What happened to being held accountable for your actions?  Those who are breaking the law are blaming their actions on others. I didn’t realize we had raised a bunch of puppets. I have no problem with protesting. It’s how things get done, attention brought to the wrongs in our society. But when it’s done with hatred, violence and disrespect for others, I won’t participate. Even if I agree with you. Respect used to be earned, now it’s expected. If you can’t respect another person’s point of view and beliefs, how can they respect yours? You expect me to listen to your pain, your hurt but you won’t listen to mine? Life doesn’t work that way.

Which brings me to the latest women’s march. This was a tough one for me and I’ll admit, I didn’t handle it the best on my social media page. I “shared” a post which I mostly agreed with but I didn’t change it to share my tone/personality. This morning I saw another post attacking the post I and many other women had shared. I saw this woman’s point of view because she “spoke” with some respect. I deleted my post but I haven’t changed my opinion on the march. Since this is my blog, I can take the time to remove the emotion from my “voice” and try to explain my position respectfully.

Why I didn’t support the march. This other blogger summarized that the reason “I” (generalizing women who didn’t support this movement) is because we didn’t grow up with hardships, we didn’t struggle or suffer so we needed to be put in our place and have compassion for those who have. That is the post that at first, infuriated me but instead of lashing out on my social media page, I decided it was time to stop, calm myself and post on my own blog.

I am the epitome of everything this woman was talking about in her blog. I grew up in a household where verbal and physical abuse occurred. Money was a very precious commodity. Just yesterday I came across a letter from the Governor of Colorado and the Colorado Ambassadors of Music congratulating me on being chosen as a participant in an All-Colorado performance tour of Europe. My band teacher, Ms. Stork, had recommended me to the board and I had been chosen. 25 days traveling Europe and I couldn’t go because my parents couldn’t afford the airfare. This letter was dated Sept. 16, 1985. That’s how much I wanted to go and how painful it was that I couldn’t. I was so proud of myself.

I was also legally emancipated by sixteen. At fifteen I had been kicked out of my house and lived a short time with my best friend. I still call her parents Mom and Dad. I didn’t graduate high school. I dropped out four months before graduation because I was not only working full-time, but I was fighting with my mother, bouncing from friend’s house to friend’s house for a roof over my head. I didn’t graduate with my classmates and it’s the reason I refuse to go to class reunions. They earned it, I did not. I got my GED and continued struggling in life.

After working minimum wage jobs for five years, I decided I wanted a better life. I chose automotive. I took out student loans and was accepted into a technical college. What the hell was I thinking? A high school drop-out, a woman, going into a male dominated field. Talk about asking for torture. And I did suffer. I was discriminated from the get-go. And do you know the comment that made me the angriest came from a woman? At graduation after I walked across the stage to accept my diploma, a woman came up to me while I was with my family and stated; “You don’t look like a mechanic.” I turned and smiled sweetly and asked, “Well, what is an automotive mechanic supposed to look like?” The discrimination came from both sides but it hurt the most coming from other women. I dealt with women who wanted to talk to a man because they knew about cars. Of course I had the men who wanted to talk to a man because, well, they knew about engines.

Discrimination came from higher up too. I was told by one dealership owner that I would never become the service manager because I was a woman. He kept me as an assistant service manager for over a year, enjoying the benefits of the customer service awards I won for his dealership. And the ultimate discrimination? How about getting fired for having a baby. It wasn’t sugar coated, glossed over, put nicely. I was told straight up that I was fired because I took maternity leave. And in the state of Colorado, any business with less than twenty employees can let you go for any reason, legally. So yes, I’ve dealt with the discrimination and difference in pay for over fifteen years.

The great thing about America is I can choose a different path, a different life. So I did. I murdered my boss who fired me for taking maternity leave. Well, metaphorically I did. I took all of that anger and hatred and I wrote a book and killed him. Damn, it felt good too. And I decided I wouldn’t work in a repair facility anymore. I taught automotive classes at Colorado State University, gave lectures, wrote newspaper articles. I called out repair shops who tried to take advantage of women. I worked and created the kind of life I wanted to live.

I’ve also experienced rape. A horrific, life-altering experience to be sure. It’s the reason my husband and I make our girls take Tae Kwon Do, why they learned gun safety at a young age and taught to listen to their instincts. You never honestly know what’s in a person’s soul.

Now I could take all of these terrible experiences and blame my childhood, blame society, talk about how awful life is but I will be the last person who will do that. My life is wonderful and I am blessed beyond belief. There are times I break down in tears, grateful for the life I have. I refuse to dwell on the negatives. I look for the window that opens when the door shuts. If I can’t find the window, I break down the wall and make my own escape. I can do anything in this life that I want to because I believe it and I work for it. If I have to put in a twenty-hour day, I will do it. I don’t look outside of myself to make things happen because I know I have the power to do it.

The older I get, the more I realize that those who handle themselves with grace and respect get heard the most. To have an intelligent debate, showing respect for the other person’s experiences and opinions, will have greater weight than words spewed in hate and anger. While I will admit I have “lost it” sometimes on social media, giving into my strong emotions, I will often delete my comments or apologize. I am human, I do make mistakes.

I have worked and fought so hard to be where I am at. I have incredible friends, a husband who honestly respects and honors who I am, daughters who look up to me, ask my opinion, value my teachings. So I refuse to act in a manner that is disrespectful. Putting on vagina hats, spewing hateful words and then trashing the streets with signs and litter is not the way to be heard or taken seriously. My children asked why all of the women were wearing clown hats and because I’m honest with my girls, I explained to them what was happening and what those hats really were. Their words; “that’s stupid.”

So the entire purpose of this protest was lost on many who would’ve taken it seriously, believed in the same cause, experienced the same things. I want to be taken seriously. I did not feel that this was the way to accomplish that.

So to the blogger who tried to label me, tried to box me, I respectfully argue with your position. Life is not black or white. It’s filled with different shades of color. It’s what makes us unique, special. Please don’t speak for me because you haven’t walked my path, nor I you. I won’t tell the world who you are, I won’t paint you black or white. I won’t put a label on you because I have respect for you as a fellow human being. I would appreciate the same respect.

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Society of black, white and extremes

I Facebook it, I Tweet, I’m beginning to Musical.ly, I see the world through cyber eyes. And the more I see, the more I realize that we are becoming a black or white society. If you hate this, then there is NO way there is anything good about it. If you like that, then there is NO way there is anything is bad about it. Whatever happened to the grays in life?

I live in a coal mining community. Have for the past 8 years. We moved from a tree hugger community. When we first moved up here, I informed my husband (yeah, never inform anyone ANYTHING because that will guarantee that they are going to do it!) that I NEVER wanted to be a coal miner’s wife. I knew nothing about coal mining except it was dangerous. Well I have been a coal miner’s wife for 5 years now. They are NOT a bunch of inbred, uneducated hicks like many believe. They are dedicated, hard-working, family and community minded souls. They are risking their lives every single day so that we have electricity, heat, power, your Xboxes and PlayStations. So when I hear about people bashing coal industry and how much it RUINS the land and how amazing solar power is, I get frustrated. So I posted on my Facebook page pictures of a surface mining operation in progress, the reclaimed land a few years later of that SAME mine and then one of a solar panel field, in which ALL life was decimated. My entire point was there is good AND bad aspects to EVERYTHING.

Another thing I read, I believe it was on MSN, is a group who is complaining about our youth. Our youth is self entitled, lazy, disrespectful and it’s ALL because parents coddled them as babies, spoiled them, never let them cry in their cribs. As a mother of two beautiful young ladies, I call bullshit on that. I NEVER let my girls cry in their cribs. When they needed me I was there. They didn’t have to cry themselves to sleep. My girls have everything they need, and quite a bit of what they want. The difference is my girls know that they need to work for things and continue working. They have A’s and B’s in school, volunteer when needed, will help a fellow friend who is down and is right out there repairing fencing and plow trucks in the cold and mud with the adults. Hhhmmmm, okay, so that theory was blown to hell.

Now the thing that is blowing up our Internet and news are the presidential candidates. Everything is black and white. IF you like this candidate, then you MUST be a terrorist, or capitalist, or extremist or …..it goes on. No one is willing to admit that there can be good AND bad in each candidate (heck, they are all politicians so we KNOW the bad is there, now to find the good) and society is quick to jump on the lynching bandwagon if you mention anything you MIGHT or MIGHT NOT like about a situation. I choose not to discuss politics. My founding fathers gave me my right to vote quietly, discreetly and peacefully, following my heart and soul, without having to be socially flogged or berated for my beliefs. I know that whoever is elected, there is going to be good AND bad and I pray that the good will outweigh the bad. I have my daughter’s futures to worry about.

How I’m going to handle things is TRY to practice tolerance. The big T word that so many people talk, preach and post about but so little actually act on. I’m different, unique, as are we all, so why am I going to jump on a judgmental bandwagon that only knows extremes? I’m not. JMO.

Remember, Life is meant to be fun; Enjoy the journey!

Children, Animals, Kryptonite and Antibiotics

Since my last blog, I’ve received quite a few comments and questions as to whether or not I am alright. It seems that my normally friendly, sensitive nature took a vacation and my blunt, less than kind comments really concerned a few people. So I’ve taken the past week to really reflect on what is going on.

I have always been an animal lover. Anyone who knew my in my childhood can attest to that and my current friends also are aware of my passion. It’s one of the reasons we have so many critters on our little ranch. Since I’ve had my own two, beautiful little girls, I’ve become aware of the wrongs done to children and in turn, become very passionate to their rights. Children and animals have no rights, are often treated as objects and with social media bringing it to the front, it’s hard for me to ignore it. So my blood boils and I become physically sick when I see abuse, blatant or otherwise. What fired me up that day was a person who was trying to argue as to why they had allowed the abuse to continue. For over four years! I don’t care if you felt sad, lost, waiting for God to make that decision. You were the adult, this soul depended on you to protect and take care of it. By allowing the abuse to continue, you allowed that soul to suffer. It honestly broke my heart and I publicly lashed out. My bad.

Along with this dangerous combination is the fact I have been very, very sick for the past two months. The amount of prescribed medication is mind-blowing and my days are scheduled around when I have to take pills. This is not an excuse, it’s a fact, but I do need to hold myself accountable for how it reacts with my body. As my family has told me, I am a crabby person on this medicine. This is noted and I will not forget.

I have been struggling with what is proper, how to get back to the kindness, how to fight for those who have no voices. I have heard that everyone has an opinion so you just need to keep yours to yourself because your children are watching and will model yours. Well, guess what. I don’t want my children to keep quiet. They were born to be heard, just as I was. I want them to stand up to injustices and abuse. I want them to say, “Oh, heck no! You cannot do that to me! It is not acceptable!” I want them to know that sometimes you have to make a stand. But I do agree that there are respectful ways to do it. Calling other people stupid is probably not a good way to do it. So while I will not apologize for feeling pain and hurt for a soul who was lost to something as horrid as abuse, I will promise to try to take a breath, go for a walk and think out my blog before I post it. I will try.
Have a blessed weekend and remember; Life is meant to be fun, enjoy the journey!

You Can’t Fix Stupid

A friend posted on Facebook this morning, “The smarter you get the less you speak”. I absolutely love this Arabic proverb and can completely relate to this. With social media sites and text messages replacing face to face interactions, I’m finding more and more people with less filters and less common sense. This last is mind boggling for me and what I once believed an ingrained, natural gene in the human species, I am now realizing that it must be taught. And now a days it’s not.

Everyone has an opinion, they are just like, well, the holes where our waste leaves. And it seems like everyone wants or has a desire to argue with anything. I could post on social media that we have a wonderful spring ahead of us and I guarantee that someone will post under it arguing the opposite. I’ve seen how a simple, helpful post has turned into a bashing, ugly argument platform for those who desire that negative interaction. Luckily I don’t have too many of those, as I choose my friends very carefully, but because I’m a public figure on social media, I still get a looney bin or two. Now I don’t mind an intelligent, legitimate debate. Debates are great and they expand your mind. My best friend up here has no qualms of offering her opinion but she explains her point of view, the reasons and facts that back it. She never attacks, insults or makes snide remarks. She tells it like it is. And because I don’t have a chip on my shoulder and am open to expanding my opinions and knowledge, I enjoy our conversations.

I’m finding that she is a dying breed. Too many people are posting intentionally shocking posts, speaking (or typing in this situation) without really re-reading what they are about to post. Just today I read a post of a person who I think was trying to offer a logical argument. I read and re-read the post this person typed and thought to myself, “Oh my gosh, did you even read what you just posted? All I could do was shake my head and scroll on. It’s called editing people. All great writers do it and now that the world has boiled society down to a bunch of writers interacting on the social media sites, I suggest more people do it. I encourage intelligent comments, posts and deep conversations. I do not support bashing, hate posts or ugly words at all. It’s uncalled for and shows lack of respect. Until then, I’m going to adopt the Arabic proverb. I’ll read social posts, I may like them, but if someone lacks common sense I’m just going to keep on scrolling. And I’ll remain silent because, well, you just can’t fix stupid.

Changes Coming Soon…

I’ve been sitting back and reading, listening, watching. Society on the whole is failing, miserably. We are quick to judge, quick to condemn and quick to jump in with a lynch mob without getting facts, (real facts, not what someone has twisted and posted on social media) and it’s been disturbing. I’ve had to take some time to do some soul searching because I was finding myself being brought down. My Miss Susie Sunshine personality was fading behind the clouds and I was starting to behave along with the masses. This was not acceptable to me because honestly, I know I’m better than that.

So here’s to a new chapter in at least my life. We are getting ready to move to a new city, my girls will be going to a new school, I have new books ready to be published and released to the world, we are beginning to travel to other countries, life is good. Why? Because of all of these things happening? Partly. They were brought into my life because I created this good, I asked for it, accepted them into my life then let it go (as Elsa would sing) I knew God had it. Yes, God. No, not religion. I’m am not a religious person by ANY means. I’m spiritual, I believe in God, believe in Jesus and believe that there are many angels and souls who guide and protect us. I do NOT believe that because someone is not a specific religion that they are going to hell, not going with God, not saved. But these are MY beliefs and I won’t push them on anyone. I respect everyone’s beliefs just as much as I expect them to respect my beliefs. But again, I won’t go farther into this. I’m not a preacher of God, I’m just here to learn lessons, enjoy life and be the best version of myself that I can be.

I’m not going to post everyday because well, heck, you’d be bored within a week. Plus, we all have lives, right? I’m hoping that this year will bring you as many blessings as it will me. It’s the year of the horse! All is well! So as I fix up my house to sell, I’ll share pictures, ideas, thoughts and frustrations because as we all know, you are NOT alone!

Life is meant to be fun, enjoy the journey!

Loving Life, Embracing Changes

When I went on sabbatical over two years ago, my life fell into a rut. It was nothing that I recognized and went unnoticed as most gradual occurrences do until my husband pointed out my dilemma. Once I was able to stand back and look at my life, I realized how easy it was to get sucked into life’s false drudgery. There were blessings and miracles around me every day but I had been focusing on the things I didn’t like. So I decided 2015 is going to be an amazing year, went back to writing and even decided to build my own recording studio so that I can create audio books for myself and fellow authors. I also decided to ride my horses more and my lovely husband bought me an amazing horse trailer so that I can join my friends for trail rides. Does that mean that the bad stuff went away? Oh, hell no. And I got sucked back in again, until yesterday.

I won’t go into details of what has happened because that’s putting the spotlight on the things that shouldn’t be important but I will tell you that just with changing my thought process on how I was going to deal with the issues has already made things easier. And the changes will be positive. We have decided to public home school our daughters this fall. I’m very excited about how far home education has come. When I was home schooled, it was books placed in front of me and I had to figure it out. Sink or swim. My girls will actually be Skyping their teacher every day, going over lessons, tests and what goals need to be met. I’m there to help with the easier questions but if there is something too hard, they call their teacher back! They will also be able to advance at their own level, which will be a blessing in itself. My youngest daughter is a science whiz and I half-jokingly fear she will graduate high school by the time she is twelve. And they will be learning actual life lessons. My eleven year-old already knows how to change brake pads on a car and they both know how to change the oil. They are learning how to garden and horticulture and this fall, they will be actively participating with canning our food for the winter. And because writing is my passion, they will be publishing their own books. They will learn how to format their book for the different publishing platforms, interacting with illustrators, editors and learn how to market. They will have their own checking accounts so that when their royalties are paid, they can balance their checkbooks.

On my own journey, I’m branching out. I went to my first writer’s convention and met some amazing people. I’ve said that I’ve always wanted to be a Harlequin author if I ever signed on with a traditional publisher and no one else. At this convention I listened to Chief Executive Officer and Publisher, Liz Pelletier, give a seminar on editing, how the publishing market has changed and the key ingredients of a best seller. This woman is amazing and inspiring and I swear she could sell sand in the Moab Desert. Honestly, if I were offered a contract with Harlequin and Entangled Publishing at the same time, there would be no hesitation, I would be signing with Entangled. She really has her finger on the pulse of today’s market. I’m also striving to finish sequels to books that my fans have been literally begging for. Shadows and With Love sagas will be continuing on, along with some new, stand-alone novels that I have been working on. Twisted Eidolon will be released this year but is currently being reviewed by an incredible editor, Lydia Sharp, who works for Entangled Publishing (yes, I’m SQUEEEEEING inside!!) and hoping that they find it worthy of their name.

While troublesome things are still popping their ugly little heads up in my life, I’m choosing to ignore them and embrace and recognize even the smallest miracles that happen. It keeps me from falling into that rut and keeps the excitement flowing. I’m sure I’ll fall back into a rut at some point, I’m far from perfecting this life, but when I do I hope I have the ability to recognize it and change it, or have another wonderful soul in my life to point it out to me. A 2×4 across the head is okay too.

Life is meant to be fun; Enjoy the journey!

This entry was posted on May 17, 2015. 1 Comment

Happy May Day

I used to make fun of “older” people, like my mom or dad, who used to say that as you get older the time starts slipping away. Being ADHD and slightly, ahem, immature for my age, time felt like it took forever and certain days, activities and accomplishments were always just beyond. Now I’m part of that “older” group as my eleven year-old and eight year-old daughters like to point out and I have to admit, my mom and dad were right. Time slips by faster and faster each year.

I know we can’t bring back time, recover lost years or create more hours in a day but I’ve decided to start weeding out the things that I thought were important and giving that time to the things that really are important. Happiness, health, family and friends. A little over two years ago, as you may remember, my then nine year-old daughter became ill. After biopsies and a very scary endoscopy, we found she had a large stress ulcer. It was during this time that I stopped writing; no blogs, no novels, no journals, nada. I stressed, I fretted and I worried as any mother would. I lost myself and became the “worried” mom. This past Christmas, my lovely husband pulled me aside and informed me that I was sad, I was not the happy-go-lucky person I used to be and he suggested that I get back into my writing. I was happy when I wrote and he wanted to see me happy again. “Happy wife; happy life” he joked. So I picked up a novel that I had almost finished a few years back, tweaked and changed and completed it a couple months ago. I sent it off to one of my editors who informed me that she saw huge growth in my writing and believed that this was possibly my best novel yet. Words every writer loves to hear, no matter how long you’ve been writing.

So this spring, I will release my latest novel, the first in over two years. I will also be getting back to writing on my blog and while I won’t promise you every day, I will be more dependable than I have been in the past. But be prepared. It’s not going to be just about my writing, or my children’s health. It’s going to be more about life, the time we have here and what we choose to do with it. I’m getting back to my basics, baking my bread, growing my vegetables, raising my chickens and loving the blessings I have in my life. I’ll also introduce you to some pretty interesting people who have agreed to be a part of my crazy journey. Again, I’m very blessed that I am surrounded by those who embrace my wacky thoughts and “younger” ideas on what time really means.

Life is supposed to be fun; Enjoy the journey