Happy Scorpion Anniversary!

It’s a year to the day since I was stung by a scorpion while doing dishes. A lot has happened since then. Today Miss Murder seeks her revenge. To celebrate, I made a Youtube video. Happy Scorpionversary!

 

 

 

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Free Day! Read a Free Short and Download Nameless!

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What do you do when someone you love goes truly dark? I have a free short story titled “Waves and Darkness” up at Pen of the Damned. Why don’t you stop by and give it a read?

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Also, today is the last day to pick up my first novel Nameless: The Darkness Comes for free. Want a fun and creepy summer read? This is the one for you, and you can download it here. Happy summer!

 

Chasing After Joy

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Mornings are a terror. Getting the kiddos dressed, finding lost shoes, doing a five-year-old’s hair, getting Oldest onto the bus, and dropping the girls off at school usually wears me out. I was on my way home to do some work when I saw this gorgeous rainbow.

It was bright. Really bright. It was probably the most defined, colorful rainbow that I have ever seen in my life. Breathtaking.

In that moment, I made a conscious decision to shove deadlines, laundry, and the To-Do List to the back of my mind. I flipped my car around and drove off after the rainbow. There was a light rain and I was listening to Christmas music in the car. Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas Canon, to be exact.

 

Many of you know that I struggle with anxiety and depression. It’s a major force, if not THE major force in my life, and I’m constantly building my day around it. But I make an effort to choose joy as much as I can. I take pictures of things that catch my eye. I remind myself of the good in the world, and while it’s an active fight, day after day, it helps me to recognize moments of peace when I can find them.

This was such a moment. Music and rainbows. I was so enraptured that I was actually surprised by an expected phone call that I had forgotten. I was to be interviewed for a city magazine.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I saw a rainbow and started to chase it. May I call you back from home?”

He quite graciously agreed and said he understood. Even that was a joy. I drove home and my terrible, stressed-out day felt more like something magical.

 

Things of Peace and Beauty

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Most of you know that my anxiety is through the roof. I make a conscious effort to bring peace and beauty into my home, so I have things to calm me. Like my indoor jungle.

 

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Sitting next to a warm bunny.

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A sweet bowl for my kitty ring.

img_5336-1Marsh the Mystery Cat snoozing outside. Small things, all, but things of joy. They’re tiny islands of beauty in a stormy sea, and every time I see these things I smile.

What are some of your favorite things? Would you share them with me? I’d love to hear.

Writing When You Don’t Wanna

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We all have those days when we’re charged with creative energy.  We’re atomic bombs of energy, split nuclear atoms of joy!  These are the days that we call off dinner with friends because we’re writing. We stay up in the middle of the night. We blow through three chapters, call ourselves geniuses, and then drop into bed.

Then there are the other days.  I’m not talking about days where we’re merely distracted or disinterested.  I’m talking about the darker, deeper days when we’re ill.  Or nail-bitingly anxious.  Or depressed.  Taking a day off or two is no big problem, but those days could easily turn into weeks or even months.  And if you’re trying to forge ahead with your dreams, two months of no writing is going to catch up with you.  You’ll see your momentum backslide.  Worse than that, you’ll hear that nasty, negative little voice that says you aren’t good enough. You don’t take your craft seriously enough, you don’t work hard enough.  Your hair isn’t shiny enough (or is that just my negative little voice?) and your commitments are building up on you, becoming more than you can manage.  If you’re sick/depressed/stressed/otherwise incapacitated, this buildup is the last thing that you need.  The more stress, the more negativity. The more negativity, the less get-up-and-go you’ll find in yourself.  And a writer without get-up-and-go is a stalled, unhappy writer.

Yeah, I’m there.  I’m frustrated that I don’t have the energy to work as hard and as efficiently as I used to.  But throwing my arms helplessly in the air only made things worse.  Instead, I have devised a plan using my trusty timer.

15 minutes a day on a project.  That’s all.

If I want to do more than that, great.  If I get inspired, even better! If I do 15 minutes on a few different projects, I’ll laud myself as a goddess.  But 15 minutes is my minimum.  It’s short enough that I’m not overwhelmed by it, but long enough that I can get to work on something.  Getting started is the hardest part for me, and once I’m going, I’m usually going for longer than my 15.   But if I plan for 15 minutes, and give myself a mental high-five when I complete it, then life goes a lot smoother.

Do you have any motivational tricks techniques that you use to keep yourself working even when you don’t feel like it?

Christmas Eve’s Eve

It’s been quite the holiday. Deadlines have been fast and furious. Holidays can be difficult for those we love. Life is just, you know, life. But I wanted to try to do small, sweet things the kids would remember fondly.

We wrote and mailed letters to Santa.

IMG_8682We made “gingerbread” houses out of graham crackers.

image(17)We had an interactive Nativity.

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We wrapped presents.

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The key for was to do different, fun things but keep it low-key enough that it didn’t cause me stress. Because we have enough stress in our lives, don’t we?

Tomorrow we’re dressing in our pajamas and baking cookies for Santa, who has his own special treat plate. It will be a simple thing, but hopefully a special memory.

Merry Christmas, my friends. 🙂

Keep It Together While Depressed

This is a wonderful post that I’ve been holding onto for quite a while. My Angry Ginger sent it to me last year. It’s written realistically and with kindness. If this is something that strikes your fancy, know that you’re not alone. There are tons of us who deserve cosmic bonus points simply for getting out of bed some mornings. 🙂

I send you now to The DIY Couturier for 21 Tips to Keep your Sh*t Together When You’re Depressed.

In Which I Apologize To That Nice Couple In The Grocery Store

It all started because I didn’t want to freak them out.  Which was a good intention, but the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

My littlest is a year and a half old. There should be three of them. They should all be a year and a half old. Most of the time, I look on the bright side.  At least we have Itty Bit! What a joy she is! What a darling, yay!

But the cold truth sneaks up on me from time to time.  Holidays that should be spent with the triplets, but not. Milestones that should be hit by three little girls, not just one.  My doctors have upped my antidepressants. I struggle to get out of bed sometimes, but I do.  I sleep with a tiny, tiny blanket under my pillow.  That blanket doesn’t belong to anybody anymore.

This couple today, they were so nice.  He was talking to Itty Bit and she was talking back. And I find myself blurting out, “She’s a triplet.”  Which is what I’ve been thinking about lately.  It’s on my mind all of the time.  I can’t sleep at night.  It’s become all-consuming.

And this nice, wonderful couple says, “Oh? Are they identical?”

And I don’t know what to say, because they’re so wonderful.  When I say, “Oh, we lost two of them,” well. That really tends to wreck somebody’s day.  People don’t know what to say and they don’t know how to speak to me after that. It’s incredibly uncomfortable. They’re all, “I’m sorry,” and I say, “It’s okay,” and you know what? It isn’t okay. But I can’t say what I’m really feeling, either, which is usually something along the lines of, “I wonder what they look like inside of the casket. I have nightmares. I know their souls are somewhere better but they really should be here with me, you know?”

So I said, “Yes. They’re identical.”  A little white lie, which doesn’t hurt anybody, and keeps me from falling apart. Because I’m falling apart this week, my darling friends. It’s almost more than I can bear.

But this couple, they’re so wonderful. They’re telling me about their little girl, and her birthday, and asking what it’s like with three, and how do we tell them apart, and although my mind is saying, “Whoa, this isn’t true!” it seemed so much easier to keep talking. And it was a joy. I talk about the girls as if they’re alive, and we have three little ones, and I tell them what I always thought we’d do to tell them apart, and how we always figured we’d take care of them, and I mention the dreams that I have for them as if they were real, but they’re not.

And this couple, I like them. A lot. She reads horror.  I’d totally want to hang around with them. I give them my card and send them to the magazine.  And by this time I’m feeling horribly guilty.

I’m not a liar. I’m almost painfully honest.  My intentions were good, but it was a weak moment and I didn’t do the right thing. I should have told the truth right away, as painful or awkward or uncomfortable as it was.

I saw them later in the store, and wanted to run up and say, “Hey, you know what? I wasn’t being truthful.”  I very nearly did that, but I thought the only thing crazier than a nutty lady who talks about her kids is a nutty lady who talks about her dead kids like they’re still living.  And nobody wants that much honesty, really.

But it wasn’t true, and even if it was a lie told with good intentions, and a sad amount of desperation to simply forget what is real for a second, a lie is a lie is a lie.  Sheesh, I’m a Sunday School teacher, for crying out loud! I know better.

So I’m very sorry, wonderful couple at the grocery store who will probably never read this.  I’m neither bonkers nor a liar (usually) and I’m sorry that I was untruthful with you. But thank you for being so kind and asking about my daughters.  I grieve them every single day, and I thought it would get better much faster than this.  But thank you for letting me think about them as darling little toddlers. Although I went about this the wrong way, you brought me much joy for that time. Thank you, and please forgive me.