Category Archives: My Story

Lessons That Last a Lifetime

A few days ago on Best Life Collaborative I wrote How Do You Manage Stress? In this post I wrote about a problem my daughter had sleeping, and how I taught her tools to manage stress. A few weeks ago, when she was having trouble falling asleep she was able to think back to how we solved her problem before and use those skills to help her again. #ProudMomMoment

Take a look at how she manages stress, and then let me know what you do to cope when things become too much! While you’re there, check out what our other members are writing about!

Get paid to write by Ashley Peterson
Moving outside your writing comfort zone by Ashley Peterson
How Essential Oils vs Depression/Anxiety Medication Stack Up in Studies by Kimberly Smyth
Still Elevating: Leadership by Johnett Guishard
Writing my way out: How writing has helped me deal with my mental health issues by Kristian Fogarty

Want to join us? Leave a comment or send an email to gratefulsinglemoms@yahoo.com!

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

Where Will This Journey Take Me?

In February of 2018 I started writing. I had always wanted to write, but never had the self-confidence to put the words out into the world. I stumbled on the Word of the Day and finally discovered a reason to write. I used this word for inspiration, but also as an excuse to write. It no longer mattered if I had a “reason” to write. The Word of the Day was my reason.

A couple months later, I was finishing my first book (Thriving Not Surviving: Bravely Pursue a Life That Will Blow Your Mind!) which was published at the end of April 2018. I was working obsessively on it and couldn’t think of anything else.

The publishing of this book led me to starting my novel (which remains unfinished, but not abandoned). I love what I’ve written and the novel will become a trilogy…some day.

But since then I’ve been pursuing my dreams…I’ve been looking at my life and making decisions that will lead me to the future I’ve always wanted. I’ve decided that I’m going to take control, live my life with a vengeance and start doing the things that I’ve always wanted to do.

Since making that decision amazing things have happened. I’ve started writing with my sister on Accessible ABA. With this website I’m learning, I’m creating, and most importantly I’m writing. We published our first book (6 Step Behavior Change Process) and the companion journal. We’ve started sending a weekly newsletter and have many plans for the future.

But there’s more! Because of how motivating it has been working with my sister, how we feed off each other and keep each other moving forward, I reached out to the WordPress community and started the Best Life Collaborative. We now have about 15 members who are all coming together to support each other. We are still working out how this group with best support its members but we’re already benefiting from coming together. In fact, this collaborative has led me to another new project from a member who I invited to join. I know her tangentially from real life…I knew her enough to know she would be interested in joining the team.

But I know her much better now. Just yesterday she asked me to help her write her story. She has lived through a lot – abuse, PTSD, drugs, drinking – and has come out on the other side with a desire to help and inspire others. I don’t know where I will find the time – but this is a project that excites me. I’ve been reading what she has started and although she isn’t a writer, she has a gift for telling stories. Together we will come up with something truly great.

I miss posting to this site. I miss writing fiction and the random thoughts that come to me. But I love what has happened this past year. I’m excited about the journey I’m on and I hope it inspires others to take steps toward their own dreams.

Where will this journey take me next?

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

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.