Category Archives: My Story

Download my Book for FREE on Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Sometimes procrastination pays off! If you still haven’t downloaded my book yet, you can download the Kindle version for FREE on Friday, Saturday and Sunday July 13-15 (the paperback version is also available but not eligible for the promotion). Go grab it and let me know what you think! If you do, please leave a review on Amazon. It helps more than you know!

For those of you who don’t yet know about my book, it is a reflection of how I’ve changed my thinking in such a dramatic way over the past 7 years that I have literally gone from surviving to thriving. I was fortunate enough to be able to include writing from two of our fellow bloggers as well:

The Wonderful and Wacky World of One Single Mom

A Creative PTSD Gal

Thriving Not Surviving: Bravely Pursue a Life That Will Blow Your Mind!

As always, I’m eternally grateful for the support I receive from all of you!

With Eager Anticipation I Watch My Story Unfold

For those of you who have been following my blog for a long time you will have noticed a dramatic change in topic (again). While some of you are enjoying the new bits of fiction I’m putting out there it’s not what people expect from me and a few are disappointed that I’m not continuing with the motivational self-help topics I was known for writing. They enjoyed the personal stories that inspired hope and showed growth from a difficult situation.

And I understand. I really do. I enjoyed writing that myself and some day I might get back to it. But what started that line of posts is also what started the new series of fictional stories that I’ve been writing.

I’ve talked about it a little before, but the word of the day has allowed me freedom in my writing that I might otherwise deny myself. It allows me to clear my mind of anything except the word and write whatever comes from that. It keeps me from writing what is expected of me, or what I think I should write about, and allows me to just practice writing.

And although what I’m writing is not what I would have planned, I do like the story that’s unfolding and I’m proud of the way it’s developing.

There have been some questions about whether the story is fact or fiction. Clearly some of it is complete fiction but parts are also loosely based on real life. Since no one reading this blog is intimately familiar with my life or my history you won’t be able to parse out what is true but I will share a little here with you now.

The post that inspired the story that is unfolding (completely out of order, in case you have been confused) was written while I was sitting on the porch in Georgia. I loved that porch and the somewhat questionable stairs leading down to the water. I wanted to write about that setting and so I wrote Am I More Than Just an Obsession to You? This was a work of fiction but it was also my way of exploring how I’ve allowed my past relationships to, perhaps falsely, predict future ones. I’ve mentioned before that for the first time since my divorce I’ve made the conscious decision to focus on my goals and temporarily end spending time working on romantic relationships (my friendships remain very important to me). Part of this time I’m taking I’m thinking through who I want to be outside of a relationship, but I’m also considering why past relationships have failed. This post was part of that.

In that post I mentioned an obsessive controlling ex. I wrote these words with my marriage very much on my mind. I don’t talk a lot about my ex publicly. Although no one who follows me here has connections to my life in Florida I am aware that some day my kids may read what I have written here and although I don’t censor myself I don’t want to write things that might hurt them either.

That being said, I will tell you that my ex was verbally abusive. He controlled and manipulated me through fear, especially the last year of our marriage. I remained in the marriage for many reasons, not entirely limited to my low (almost non existent) self esteem but it was my choice to stay. It was also my choice to leave.

The pieces of the story I’m now writing about the controlling ex attempt to work through some of that. What happens in the story is not what happened in real life, but the emotions are essentially the same. Although I haven’t yet given the main character any indication of issues with self esteem (and I’m not sure that I will), often people end up in relationships in spite of the warning signs. They believe a false story they are told instead of paying attention to the person’s actions. They allow themselves to be manipulated because they like the story and they want to believe it’s true.

This is the first part of my story that’s unfolding.

When they finally realize what is happening they’re often too scared to leave, or they doubt their own worth too much to leave, and they justify this by thinking of only the good, ignoring the bad that is so much less than they deserve or worse, harmful. If they are able to break free it is with a tremendous amount of fear, regret, doubt, guilt and endless other emotions.

In the posts I’ve shared this as the main character being physically afraid of her ex, but the fear caused from verbal abuse is just as real. I haven’t fully worked out this section but I anticipate some mind games coming, that will add to her fear.

This to me relates to the months I spent going through my divorce…from the time I told him I wanted to end the marriage until the time we signed the papers. Before he moved out, I kept a bag of clothes under my desk, thinking that at some point I might not be able to go home. The clothes were there and I had a friend I could stay with if facing him at the end of the day just became too much. Each night I would wait until 9 or 10 to return to the house, most of the time simply driving around because I had nowhere to go, no place I could be. And often when I would get home he would be waiting for me. He would want to “talk” but really the more he tried to “fix” things by controlling every single move I made the more I knew I had to leave.

And so this became the second part of the story.

The remaining posts express confusion. There’s a yet-to-be-named hero in the story but there’s doubt and fear about trusting again. This person can be perfect in every way and yet at one point she thought her ex was perfect too…so not only does she fail to trust him, she lacks faith in her own ability to judge his character. What about him is she failing to see? What hidden agenda might he have? How can anyone ever really know for sure?

This is where I find myself now in my life. I want a relationship at some point yet I’ve struggled and I want to understand why. I’m tired of investing time with the wrong people and so it’s important for me to understand why I keep doing it. My life is complicated and busy and sometimes I wonder how anyone would fit into it, and yet I’d love to find the person who does fit. I want that for me because I deserve it. But I also want it for my girls. They have a father and I in no way want to replace him. But I want them to have an example of a good, healthy relationship. I want them to know they shouldn’t settle for anything less. It was in part my lack of role models growing up that led me to accept a relationship that was far less than what I deserved.

And it’s these thoughts that I share as the final part, where the hero protects her and she doesn’t know whether to trust her feelings for him or not.

So, if you have been missing my more personal posts, I hope you now see that they are still there, although changed slightly. I will tell you that I also plan to post a piece of the story using the word of the day as well so you can wait with eager anticipation while I put that one together. Given the time it’s likely I will be leaving to take my niece to breakfast before it’s finished so you will have plenty of time to wonder what could be coming….

I have an idea for the story that I think will work well. I credit Walt for encouraging me not to take the obvious route with this word.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Anticipation

An Elegant Solution to This Complicated Problem

Six years after my divorce, my ex and I still struggle to get along. Now that I am no longer the peace keeper, now that I don’t always bend to his will and now that I actually say what’s on my mind sometimes things can get quite challenging. Our most recent disagreement revolved around his promise to the girls to take them on vacation, and his unwillingness to do it when the time came. He had plenty of “reasons” why he couldn’t follow through, but ultimately it was simply because it was easier for him to go without them.

This was a challenging situation for me. Our parenting agreement basically states that every month he gets to decide when he will have them. Because he’s a pilot he doesn’t have a set schedule and so I don’t have a lot of options. I have fought for more stability for the girls regarding the schedule, but even in mediation I lost. For some reason this arrangement seems reasonable to people who don’t have to live with the consequences of it.

So with only a few days notice I discovered that at the very beginning of summer vacation, when the kids had absolutely nothing to do, they would be with me for almost 2 weeks. I know there is nothing wrong with leaving my kids home alone during the day while I work. They are (almost) 12 and 13. They are responsible and mature for their age. I wasn’t worried about their safety but I hate the idea of them just idly passing time…at least that much time.

I have a long vacation already planned for the end of summer and so I didn’t have a lot of time that I could take off from work. I had originally planned to take my vacation during this time but for a lot of reasons the end of the summer worked out better.

I needed a solution. And that’s how I found myself on a road trip to Georgia with a car full of kids. That’s how I find myself being able to write this post surrounded by the woods as the sun comes up behind the trees, one of my favorite places to be.

Our vacation here will span over my work from home day, extending our stay to a very reasonable 4 nights. We all get to connect with nature, explore a new place and in general enjoy being together. Because I brought their friends they will have an easy time occupying themselves part of the time while I’m working or writing or just relaxing on the porch listening to nature.

It’s an elegant solution for all of us and now I’m grateful my ex changed his plans.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Elegant

The Amazing Ability to Ponder Life Surrounded by Nature

I made it! I finally made it to Georgia. A 9 hour car ride with 5 kids is enough to frazzle my nerves but overall it went really well. There were a few minor spats, mostly because they had thought it would be easier to sleep in the car than it turned out to be but when we got to the cabin I rented everyone was glad they’d made the trip.

Now, as I sit on the back porch listening to the birds chirping and the river flowing just down the hill, I am starting to feel a sense of peace. The kids are all occupied, in one way or another. And suddenly it’s just me and nature….and my laptop.

We will spend the next few days exploring the area, visiting state parks, finding waterfalls, rafting down the river and generally being outside as they complain about how hot it is. But I am also hoping to spend some time sitting and thinking about where my life is going. Over the past few months my life has begun to change in some very meaningful ways and I’ve been too tired and too busy recently to do much more than go through the motions.

I’m enjoying posting to this blog every day and interacting with people on WordPress. Collaborating on the Word of the Day has added a new dimension to this. My book is getting some attention and sales are going better than I expected. I have taken over the 2 parents’ groups on Meetup and I have had a surprising number of people step forward offering to help.

But I’ve also had my kids a lot more than usual and when they are with me I try to give them most of my attention. This means that although I’m making progress in these areas I haven’t had time to truly think about what I’m doing with them.

I’m hoping this weekend, probably in the quiet hours of the morning when the kids are sleeping, I will spend some time trying to see how all these things fit together. Maybe they don’t, but it’s something to think about. And I feel like here, in the woods with just the sound of nature, I might just be able to figure it out.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Frazzle

How Can My Kids Maintain Their Integrity?

I want to teach my children to live with integrity. It’s important that they learn to be honest and to do the right thing even when I’m not watching. But there are grey areas. They might ask me a question and I always have to consider who they might share the information with. There is some information that their dad, for example, should get from me directly, yet he plies them for information and I can’t tell them not to be honest with their father.

So what can we do?

A couple years ago my ex brought my youngest to the pediatrician, looking for a medical reason for the behavior problems he was seeing. They tested her for allergies and was told she has an allergy to milk, so I was told that she was not permitted to eat dairy. Hmmm. Well, while I do agree that some behavior issues could be medically based I did not believe hers were, especially since she did not have the same issues at my house.

However it’s futile to argue with him and so I decided to go along with it for a few weeks to see if there were any changes. I didn’t see any. Eventually I switched to encouraging her to make different choices, but I did not forbid her from eating dairy. She would ask if she could have cheese, or ice cream. I would remind her that she should try to eat something else, but when she really wanted something I would just tell her to eat what she wants, try eating just a little of it, and then pay attention to how she felt afterward. This is something we could all benefit from doing.

In an attempt to determine whether I was complying with his instructions, my ex would ask my other daughter (not the one with the restrictions) whether I was letting her eat the things he’d forbidden. He never asked me, not once. He asked the one person who was not even involved.

What should my daughter have told him? How should she have responded? She knows she needs that we both value honesty. She knows she needs to tell the truth. And so she would tell him, then he would yell at my other daughter, who would then get mad at her sister for telling their dad.

If I confront him about these things, he will yell at the kids for telling me. They don’t want me to talk to him and if I do they will stop telling me what happens at his house. All I can do is listen to the girls, tell them that this isn’t something they need to handle and suggest they ask him to talk to me. He won’t accept that from them, but there’s not much else I can do.

I’m hoping as they grow up I can help them work on responses to his questions that keep their integrity in place but also limits the information they give to him directly. He needs to talk to me himself. Period.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Integrity

What Will Be My Next Big Project?

A few months ago I was diligently writing a book. I was laser focused and for the first time ever truly felt like I was doing exactly what I needed to be doing in that moment. I was never so sure of anything in my life. It felt like I was being guided through the process, rather than my normal approach of doggedly sticking to a predefined plan.

It was an amazing experience, unlike anything I’d felt before.

But since I completed that project I’ve been trying to figure out what my next one will be. I have several ideas but when I try to decide what I want to work on I just feel…I don’t know…kinda meh. They’re all good ideas and I want to do those projects at some point, but I don’t feel a burning passion for any of them right now. None of them feel like the NEXT thing.

Then last night, while I was lying awake once again at 3 am it hit me. I know what I want my next big project to be.

I belong to two parent groups on Meetup. Both have been run by the same woman for the past 10 years. Now that her son is a teenager she hasn’t been focusing on the groups at all and has left it to the members to host their own events. Membership in the groups has been declining (although there are still almost 3,000 members between the groups) but worse engagement in the groups is minimal.

There are few events each month and those events are rarely well attended. People signing up for events and then not showing up is a big problem that has been a source of frustration for those willing to host events. Many members are interested in seeing these groups succeed but after the current organizer announced she is going to step down no one has offered to take the lead.

I have to admit, when I saw her notice I deleted it thinking that I have the same problem she has, a busy life with already insufficient time to do the things I want to do. Definitely not something I need to add to my already full plate.

Except for one thing I realized last night.

This could be an amazing learning opportunity for my kids. For more than a year now I’ve been trying to find ways for them to learn about making money in non-traditional ways, perhaps running a business in some way. While these groups don’t currently make any money, it is possible to lead Meetups in a way that can generate income.

The issues with the groups would need to be addressed before anything else. But this is something I could get the girls involved in. I can talk to them about what makes some groups successful while other fail. We can work together to host events that fit what the group is looking for. They would be involved as business partners and not as event attendees. They could host events where they teach younger kids crafts (something they love to do). They can come up with their own ideas for events to host and ways to get the families engaged again.

This could be how they learn about what it takes to run a business, in a way where the financial risk would be minimal. Over time, if we are able to fix the issues with engagement we could start charging members a small annual fee to generate a little money. But even if we never get to this point the things they could learn will be priceless in the future.

So for this reason I feel like this is my next big project. This just feels right. It is in line with so many of my goals I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner. I will be talking to them about this today and then will reach out to the current organizer. What could go wrong? Even if we fail the girls will have learned so much.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Meh

Download my Book for FREE on Saturday and Sunday

Sometimes procrastination pays off! If you haven’t downloaded my book yet, you can download the Kindle version for FREE on Saturday and Sunday (the paperback version is also available but not eligible for the promotion). Go grab it and let me know what you think! If you do, please leave a review on Amazon. It helps more than you know!

For those of you who don’t yet know about my book, it is a reflection of how I’ve changed my thinking in such a dramatic way over the past 7 years that I have literally gone from surviving to thriving. I was fortunate enough to be able to include writing from two of our fellow bloggers as well:

The Wonderful and Wacky World of One Single Mom

A Creative PTSD Gal

Thriving Not Surviving: Bravely Pursue a Life That Will Blow Your Mind!

As always, I’m eternally grateful for the support I receive from all of you!