Category Archives: My Story

I Was Robbed!

As I drove into the park I checked the time on the clock. It was 9:36. I was later than I’d planned – by 6 minutes – because I’d stopped for gas on my way. Did the time matter? No, that’s just how I am sometimes. I had hoped to be home by 10:30 but that seemed unlikely. I wanted to run and wasn’t sure how far I’d make it.

Was it more important to be home early or run further? I hadn’t decided yet.

As I pulled into the lot at the back of the park, I mentally debated which spot to take. I pulled into one in front of the bathroom, just to the left of the walkway. Why did I put so much thought into which spot to take? The parking lot only had a few cars in it so it didn’t matter. I was going running so I didn’t need to park close to anything, after all I was there for the exercise. But that’s how I am.

I went into the bathroom and came out a few minutes later to find a black SUV parked in the spot next to my driver’s side. Their rear passenger door was open and I was annoyed because it was preventing me from opening my rear driver’s side door to get my sneakers. A man with dark complexion and black hair stood in front of the vehicle and motioned for me to get into my car. I told him I needed to get into the back, then indicated the open door.

As I did I noticed a woman at the back of their vehicle, the rear hatch open. I caught a glimpse of light brown wavy hair as she moved but I didn’t really pay attention.

The man spoke to me with an accent, his words mostly indistinguishable. He closed the door, and I was able to get into my car. I grabbed my gym bag and went to the passenger’s side to put on my shoes. The woman closed the hatch on their SUV, then both of them got into their vehicle and they drove away.

That’s odd, I thought, annoyed. They were there just long enough to get in my way.

I tied my sneakers and put on my knee brace. Grabbing my headphones I threw the bag back over to the driver’s side, slammed the door and locked it with the key fob. Hearing the double beep of the horn I started off through the parking lot toward the trail. As I half jogged, half walked through the lot I started the activity app on my Apple watch at 9:42, just 6 minutes after I entered the park. Then I picked up the pace a little.

I was moving slowly. I haven’t been running much and was recovering from a chest cold. I’d just finished an hour of yoga and really didn’t feel like going for a jog. I was hoping I’d feel better once I got to the wooded trail.

I didn’t. As I ran I convinced myself that one way or another it would be 2 miles before I got back to the car. I wasn’t going to feel less tired if I was walking and it would take longer to get back. That worked for the first mile, then I gave in. I walked the last mile and headed back to my car. I had been running 5 miles. Now I can’t even make it 2? Something has to change! I shut off the activity app: 10:12. Thirty minutes to go 2 miles?

With a mixture of frustration and determination I got back in my car and headed home. At home I jumped in the shower, quickly washing off the side effects of the run. As I got out of the shower my cell phone rang.

I wrapped a towel around me and answered. An automated female voice said, “Hello, this is Barclay card calling to report potentially fraudulent activity on your account. We must speak to you before you will be able to use your card.”

What? I immediately hung up. I don’t talk to people from credit card companies who call me. They could be anyone.

Looking at my phone I saw several text previews. All had the word FRAUD prominently in the message. I started to panic. Running into my kitchen I grabbed my wallet to get my credit card. I needed the number off the back so I could call them back to see what was going on. I could tell from the texts that more than one card was compromised. How had they gotten both those numbers?

That’s when I realized. All my credit cards, plus my debit card were missing.

Gone.

What? How?

Thinking back, it had to have been at the park. I got gas on my way to the park so I know I had my cards then. I came straight home afterward and I was home alone. It had to have been at the park.

I quickly called the bank to cancel my cards. It took 4 different people to do what had to be done, but they cancelled and reissued the cards. Only 1 transaction actually went through: $832.55 at Target. I wrote down the store number and the time of the transaction: 10:40. A second transaction in the amount of $900 was declined at 10:42. Another transaction for $900 on my debit card was also declined.

I called the second credit card company, regretting the collection of cards I’d accumulated. They had also declined a charge of $900 at Target.

Why hadn’t someone at the store realized this was happening? Self-checkout. As far as the store is concerned, so long as they get their money they don’t really care about anything else. It’s not their responsibility to make sure the credit card actually belongs to the person making the payment.

Once that one was cancelled I called the sheriff’s department. I met them back at the park and walked the officer through what happened. At first he thought I left my car unlocked, until we saw the bent lock and scratches on my driver’s door. Then he was convinced it was teenagers who broke into the vehicle. Apparently that happens a lot and he wasn’t convinced the man and woman I’d seen earlier were involved. And maybe they’re not.

But it seems like too big of a coincidence to ignore. What were they doing there? Why did the park right next to my driver’s door when the whole parking lot was empty? Why was their door open? Why did they leave so quickly?

None of it made sense – unless I interrupted them trying to break into my car. Then it all came clear. If their rear passenger door were open to block what they were doing from the prying eyes of people passing, then the fact they had parked right next to me made sense.

Even the officer had to agree with that logic. Forensics came and processed my car. I’m sure Target has them on video at their checkouts. But will they catch them? They made off with $832.55. My credit card company will reimburse that charge and write off the loss. All is good, right?

Except that they will keep doing this. They won’t stop. They didn’t get as much as they wanted to get but they got enough. I want to yell at the manager at Target for not having better controls. Why aren’t they responsible? When did we go from the cashier doing a perfunctory match of the signature on the card against a signature on the receipt to no validation for any charge?

I’m sure the argument would be that there’s no signature validation on the internet, so there doesn’t need to be one in the store. I’m sure they don’t want to get their staff involved. But how can we stop this if no one wants to be involved? There has to be some sort of validation. The fact that the credit card company has to eat the cost doesn’t fix the problem. That’s not enough.

No one wants to make it harder to buy things, but that’s the only way. There needs to be some sort of validation that the person making the charge is the person authorized to make the charge.

Do you agree?

#truestory

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Missing.

Best Life Collaborative Keeps Growing!

Things continue to grow at BLC.  We have an official logo now (thanks to Ashley!).  We have had another new member join, Heather Tasker from Lame Girl’s Guide to… and we have a prospective member who hasn’t been posted yet (a full list of our members can be found on our Members page).  In fact, we are growing so quickly I’ve created an onboarding packet and am thinking about ways to scale this project.  My hope is to allow the collaborative to grow organically while retaining the original mission of the project.  This information is now included in the onboarding packet to ensure we maintain a consistent message.

Our stated mission is:

We have come together to support each other and to help cross-promote our products and services.  Although the group was started by me, Dianna Kelly, it is entirely the combined efforts of our members that will make this successful.  It is our intention to provide each other with inspiration and motivation, and to share knowledge as each of us continues to learn.

Our message is one of hope, recovery, collaboration, growth, and improvement.  I hope that together we share resources, knowledge and experience so that each of us can be more successful than we would have been alone.

Our members have been busy writing for BLC, in addition to their own blogs.

Take a minute to see what they’re sharing!

As we grow, we are looking for members who want to begin or grow a business, blog or audience in wellness, whether it is physical, mental, spiritual, or regarding parenting and other types of relationships.  Whether you offer products or services, written content or artistic renderings, scholarly teachings or fictional stories, you are welcome here so long as you are willing to promote our mission.

It has been our experience that simply being part of the group has enabled members to take steps they may have been delaying or were afraid to take.  It is my intention that this collaborative helps each member identify and reach their personal and professional goals.

Each member will be featured on our Member page and will have their own post with a biography and personal photo.  Each member will be set up as an author for the site and will have access to post within guidelines that will be defined as we move forward.

If you’re interested you can email me at gratefulsinglemoms@yahoo.com.

 

Best Life Collaborative

I am excited to announce that our collaborative group is growing. We now have 11 members working together. We are inspiring each other to take action. We are motivating each other to take the next step. Working together we can do great things! We have had two articles published this week:

Intro to the blogging & blossoming series by Ashley Peterson, author of Mental Health @ Home

How a Low Carb Diet Can Ease Depression by Kimberly Smyth, author of Keto for Beginners

We posted about two of our newer members:

Nida Elley

Nida is a writer and teacher who writes on the blog Lovelorn to create a sense of hope for those who feel disconnected with the world around them. She has been published in the anthology Austenistan.

Jo Ray

Jo is the author of the blog The Creative PTSD Gal where she uses her creativity to manage her CPTSD and inspire others suffering from mental distress.

A complete list of our members can be found on Best Life Collaborative.  On this page you will find a short snippet about each member, plus a link to their more detailed information.  Please take a minute to learn about our project and members!

 

 

Building Momentum

Earlier this week I posted about an idea I had to form a collaborative website, a group of people who will work together to support, motivate, cross-promote and essentially help each other however we can. You can read my original post: .

As a result, there are 10 of us so far who are working together. We have created a website called the Best Life Collaborative and the site is now live, although still a work in progress. I’m still gathering information from some of the members who have been busy with other things. We’re still talking about next steps and design.

But we’re already making progress, and that’s the point.

There is still a lot to figure out, but I’m excited about collaborating. I have always felt when you commit to supporting and helping each other you can succeed at anything.

Come, see what we’re doing. In the beginning we will want to keep the group small, but I’m sure we can find room for 1 or 2 more if you’re interested! Email me at gratefulsinglemoms@yahoo.com for more information.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Commit.

Let’s Do This Together!

I’m ready!  I have several people who have contacted me about collaborating.  I’d love to have more.  What WordPress has shown me is that we all achieve more when we support each other.  (Did you miss my post I Hope You Will Join Me! to learn more!)

I am ready to begin what I know will be an amazing journey and if you are interested I do hope you will join us.

Together we will build a community of some sort.  We will work out the details together.  So, if you’re a blogger looking to get discovered outside of WordPress please contact me!  Anyone is welcome, but specifically I’m hoping to find people who:

  1. Have a mental health, parenting, or self-improvement blog who wants to get discovered off of WordPress (if your blog is in a different area and you want to join lets figure out how you fit!)
  2. Have published, or want to publish a book in one of these areas
  3. Have experience with, or an interest in, creating a YouTube channel or podcast in one of these areas
  4. Have experience with, or an interest in, creating and selling products of interest to this type of audience
  5. Have a product, service or skill that would be useful to people pursuing any of the above including:
    1. Graphic designer
    2. Book review site
    3. Copywriter
    4. Illustrator
    5. Marketing expert

My dream is twofold:

  1. Create a website that links to everyone who joins this team (whatever we decide to call this).  This site would be more than just outgoing links, but a resource in itself that every member has access to (similar to Word of the Day).  We would all be able to create content here that would point to what we are each doing, but also hopefully to each other.
  2. Create a network of people with a variety of skills and knowledge who can collaborate, share ideas, share resources and basically motivate and encourage each other.  There is so much advice available online but it would be far more efficient to have a group of people we trust to really tell us what worked for them and what didn’t, rather than depend on a bunch of people trying to sell us their affiliate products.  I am learning so much about building an online presence and while this blog isn’t the place to share what I know, I know there have to be many of you out there who would be interested in what I am learning, and I’m sure you have lots of your own knowledge to share.

If you’re at all interested I hope you will join me!  Leave a comment, or email me directly at gratefulsinglemoms@yahoo.com.

Let’s build something!

If you’re not interested but know someone who might be, or have followers who might be interested please share or reblog this post!

I Hope You Will Join Me!

I have an idea.  And the more I think about this idea, the more excited I get.  I hope you will feel the same because I want you to join me!

For at least 15 years, maybe more, I’ve had this dream of creating my future.  I was taught growing up that the “right” way to be successful was to go to college (which I paid for myself) and then get a “good” job.  I have followed this path all my life.  I have to say that although I don’t like my current job, and I find it infinitely frustrating at times, it is by anyone’s standards a “good” job.  It’s better than good.  It pays well.  The benefits are great (not just hard benefits like health insurance and retirement, but also soft ones like working from home and lots of paid vacation).  It’s also flexible and has allowed me to do many things I never would have been able to do had I worked somewhere else.

This is not about being unhappy with my job.  It’s about wanting financial freedom.  It’s about wanting to create something.  It’s about showing my girls that there are many ways to be successful.

To give credit where credit is due, I have been listening to the podcast Side Hustle School for over half a year.  I find the stories to be both motivating and inspiring, and many of the tips are useful as I try to figure out how to build a career for myself that isn’t defined by someone else.  If you’re like me and you want to turn this blogging thing into more than a hobby then I highly recommend listening.

This post is for people who are on WordPress who want more.   I have nothing against those blogging for fun…I completely understand needing a creative outlet without wanting/needing to turn it into more.  But I’m looking to create a group of people who want to join together to help push each other forward.  My inspiration was The Onward Project which was founded by Gretchen Rubin.  Side Hustle School is part of this and I’ve wondered for a while what it was all about.  This morning I Googled it and found that it’s just a simple 1 page website that lists 3 podcasts.

I had thought it would be so much more.  I had images of big things, of a network of resources all sharing a common theme.  I thought it would include podcasts, websites and other links to information someone interested in whatever the Onward Project’s mission is.

It was none of that.  It was simply 3 links.

But it gave me an idea.  I want to create what I thought the Onward Project would be.  I want to recruit people from my network who want to build something together.  I want to find people who:

  1. Have a mental health, parenting, or self-improvement blog who wants to get discovered off of WordPress (if your blog is in a different area and you want to join lets figure out how you fit!)
  2. Have published, or want to publish a book in one of these areas
  3. Have experience with, or an interest in, creating a YouTube channel or podcast in one of these areas
  4. Have experience with, or an interest in, creating and selling products of interest to this type of audience
  5. Have a product, service or skill that would be useful to people pursuing any of the above including:
    1. Graphic designer
    2. Book review site
    3. Copywriter
    4. Illustrator
    5. Marketing expert

My dream is twofold:

  1. Create a website that links to everyone who joins this team (whatever we decide to call this).  This site would be more than just outgoing links, but a resource in itself that every member has access to (similar to Word of the Day).  We would all be able to create content here that would point to what we are each doing, but also hopefully to each other.
  2. Create a network of people with a variety of skills and knowledge who can collaborate, share ideas, share resources and basically motivate and encourage each other.  There is so much advice available online but it would be far more efficient to have a group of people we trust to really tell us what worked for them and what didn’t, rather than depend on a bunch of people trying to sell us their affiliate products.  I am learning so much about building an online presence and while this blog isn’t the place to share what I know, I know there have to be many of you out there who would be interested in what I am learning, and I’m sure you have lots of your own knowledge to share.

If you’re at all interested I hope you will join me!  Leave a comment, or email me directly at gratefulsinglemoms@yahoo.com.

Let’s build something!