Category Archives: My Story

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!

Another Milestone Reached!

The book I’ve been working on with my sister has officially been released on Amazon! This is an exciting accomplishment. I feel like I am finally moving in the direction of doing what I love – writing! I don’t know where this road might take me, and I’m still going to pursue my novel and write a sequel to Thriving Not Surviving: Bravely Pursue a Life That Will Blow Your Mind!. I have a lot of ideas about both of them, and I need to give them some of my attention, but this has been a fantastic experience.

Links to our book are below (click the image to go to Amazon). There is more to do in order to promote these, and that in itself isn’t a small task. But I feel like I’m moving forward, making progress on my dreams. I’m thrilled to share this journey with all of you!

Available in paperback:

Or for Kindle:

We have also made a companion journal available. I’m particularly excited about this as it will help parents follow the process on their own and provide enough space to record everything they need in one place:

Puppies!

I’ve been so busy with all my projects that I barely have time to post here anymore. We had a wonderful litter of kittens who never got to be announced to the world (because it is the lifelong dream of all kittens to be featured on a blog post).

We’re now fostering two puppies. It’s the second time we’ve done puppies and it’s exhausting. They’re cute, especially now that they’re getting more comfortable when they have to be in their crate. But at less than 5 weeks old (with still 3 weeks remaining with us) these guys are already finding things to get into….and for some reason they love to bite my feet.

Just like having babies, these guys like to keep me awake at night. This video will give you a taste of what I have been living with:

(for some reason the video is turned sideways…and I’m just too tired to try to fix it) I find it hysterical to watch him howl…unless it’s between the hours of 12am and 5am. Fortunately this too is getting better. Now that they’ve been with us for 5 days we’re starting to adjust to each other. I’m hoping to sleep more tonight.

Wish me luck!

I Had Never Imagined the Possibilities

Get up. Go to work. Take care of the kids. Watch TV. Go to bed. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

For years this was my life. Before kids it was the same, minus the “take care of the kids” part (substitute dog for kids). That is what my life was. Sure, I had friends and sometimes we’d get together on the weekend, or I’d have dinner with my sister and her family. But this was pretty much it.

I dreamed of my life being different. I tried to get my ex husband interested in doing something together other than watching TV (something I regretted each time I tried). I looked into ways to pursue a career that wasn’t the 9-5 grind at a soulless company but was met with resistance from my ex and paralyzing self-doubt. I thought about writing in my free time, but the stories always remained in my head.

And so nothing ever changed.

My divorce 7 years ago was a catalyst for me. I won’t say that suddenly I was free to do all the things I had dreamed of doing, because in all honesty I was TERRIFIED of the responsibility I was shouldering. I felt overwhelmed. I had no idea how I was going to manage everything – a house, kids, work. Worst of all, I lacked confidence in myself to be able to handle some of life’s most basic challenges.

Change was slow in the beginning. But every little success built on previous successes. Every time I overcame a challenge, no matter how small, I gained faith in myself. I started meeting people who were living a life I’d want to live, and started thinking about ways I might be able to make that happen. Instead of telling myself all the reasons I couldn’t, or shouldn’t, follow my dreams I started taking action.

It wasn’t easy. And sometimes it’s still not easy. But I’m getting there.

I published my first book last April: Thriving Not Surviving: Bravely Pursue a Life That Will Blow Your Mind!

It was an achievement I had only ever dreamed of.

Shortly after that I began work on my novel. I won’t lie…writing fiction is just harder than writing non fiction. I love it, and I’m really proud of what I have so far, but I’m just over half way done the first solid draft and other priorities have pushed it to the side.

But that’s okay because I’m still moving toward my dreams. I’m still creating things, still writing.

Tonight I submitted the book my sister and I wrote together. It will be available soon on Amazon. It’s another non fiction: 6 Step Behavior Change Process. It’s a parenting guide to help parents of children with autism (although this process will work with any child). The book is great on its own, however we’re also making a journal available that matches the steps in the book. This provides a convenient place for parents to track their progress through the process.

I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. It’s yet another example of something I never would have imagined possible just a few years ago. And yet it’s becoming a reality.

We really do have more control over our lives than we realize. Even after all the changes I’ve made, all the ways I’ve grown, I’m still amazed at each and every achievement. And I’d like more than anything for you to realize your dreams as well!

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

Explaining Autism to Siblings

In our most recent post on children with autism we talk about how to explain autism to siblings. I know first hand how challenging sibling relationships can be. My kids fight as often as my sister and I did when we were growing up. How to divide things, like our room at our mom’s or the pull out couch at our dad’s, was a common one. My kids are fortunate in that they don’t share space, but they find other things to argue about.

I have done a lot of reading about sibling rivalry and I understand where their conflict comes from. I do my best to minimize it, and they know this is one of my buttons. Bickering is a sure-fire way to push me past my breaking point. On the other hand, cooperating and “ganging up” on me will get them most anything.

When they get frustrated with each other I try to talk to them about how each of them might be feeling. When my youngest was having a hard time sleeping and I was spending extra time with her, my oldest would be upset so I would explain that her sister needed the extra attention (being replaced as the baby in the family when her dad had a new baby was the root cause of the sleepless nights). Similarly when my oldest needs help with homework and my youngest feels ignored I take the time to talk to her about why her sister needs my help.

These are all common, everyday problems that most families face. In writing our latest post for my sister’s website, we discussed ways to explain the much more complicated topic of autism to children. It was a very interesting post for me to help write:

Explaining Autism to Siblings

I love that I’m learning new things every day.

Writer’s Block Isn’t Fatal

After more than three months of struggling with writer’s block I was finally able to write. I posted a short snippet of a story yesterday in response to the word of the day. It’s not unlike something I wrote last year but I posted it anyway. Writing anything at all was the goal. Even better, I have been able to write a whole chapter in the novel I have been working on. (For more on this project see the post: With Eager Anticipation I Watch My Story Unfold)

I’ve also been writing for my sister’s blog (Accessible ABA). As part of that project we have a book that is close to being ready to publish. It will be part of a series titled Understanding Your Child with Autism. The first book is the 6 Step Behavior Change Process. In addition, because the process involves recording information we will be releasing a companion journal that follows the 6 steps. This is truly a project that has required us to combine our skills. She is the behavior expert; I am the writer. It’s not that she can’t write, but that isn’t her passion; it’s mine. So far it’s been a great experience and I’m looking forward to several other projects we have planned.

Over these months I’ve had brief bursts where I have been able to write, so it’s possible this isn’t the end to the writer’s block. But I can feel my creativity beginning to come back; the ideas are bubbling under the surface. It’s not quite as it was when I found inspiration everywhere, but I have faith it will get there. It might even be time for me to start carrying my journal with me again so I can write down my thoughts as they come to me. There are so many good ideas written there already…

Yes, just maybe writer’s block isn’t quite fatal.

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