Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Last Post of the Year

It's less than a week until Christmas. We weren't able to get presents like we usually do but we have the kids' Christmas covered at least and they are looking forward to it. We are also having Christmas dinner which will include all the step kids, their mother, my mother-in-law, my aunt, cousins, a couple of my sisters, and a niece. There may be more. Who knows?

Since it's so close to Christmas and because my Yahoo! beats won't be available until after the 1st, I'm going to take the time "off" to really dig into finishing the final draft of Future Past. This means I also won't post here either. I'm only going to update my client blogs which shouldn't take up much time at all.

I'm not as bah humbug as I was last year about this time but I still harbor an amount of sadness as I realize just how much has changed in my life this year. Never would I have ever imagined that my family would be as fractured as it is. I've found out things about several people I love that have really diminished my faith in humanity in general. I've learned that the ones you look up to most will hurt you the worst. I've learned that standing up for yourself and trying to do what's right will inevitably make people tell you that you're a self important and self righteous person who cares about no one but herself. So as you can see, not a lot of what I've learned this year has been good.

At a time when I was shy, weak, was afraid to put my writing out there, and never voiced my thoughts, I seemed to have more people that cared about me. I learned to start standing up for what I believed in and going after what I wanted in life when I started having kids. Now that I've been doing that, the real in people started coming out and it isn't always pretty.

But I'm realizing that I have more friends than I thought I had, people who do accept me and care about me for who I am and I'd rather appreciate them then I would dwell on those who want to blame me for their own actions.

So for all of you out there who have read what I've written and enjoyed it to the point you looked me up online, thank you from the bottom of my heart. To the woman who lives near my hometown and made me feel really special this week by emailing me and asking me to meet her to sign my haiku calendar, thank you. To the people who support me in my endeavors, thank you. To my online friends who I enjoy bantering with, thank you for just being there and making me smile throughout my day. To my real life friends and family members who are also my friends, I truly appreciate each one of you. I hope your holidays are filled with warmth, love, and smiles.

For whatever you celebrate this time of year, I wish you the best. Merry Christmas from my family to yours.

See ya next year!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Two and a half (ish) months, post discectomy back surgery update.

I had a discectomy on a severely 
ruptured L5/S1 disk on October 12, 2011. 
This isn't my MRI, but one that illustrates
my problem.
I've had a few of you ask me how my back has been doing since my surgery so I thought I'd update.

I think I must be getting better. I'm having more good days than I am bad lately so that is better, right? I only say this because I guess I was under the mistaken impression that I should be instantly healed or at least be out of pain by now, which I'm not.

That's really all I can say. I can sit for longer now so I've been able to keep up my Yahoo! work and keep my client work up-to-date without too many problems. I've been walking more these days, too, and returning to the gym a little at a time. Part of my left foot, mainly my smaller toes, are still numb and parts of my leg are numb, too, although the only time I can really tell is when I shave my legs. I have pain that still runs from my back, across my backside, to my left hip but it isn't as frequent or to the intensity it has been before.

I guess I expected to be fully recovered by now but I've learned that this is a much longer process than I could have ever imagined. At some point in my life, I'd like to be able to run and jump again but I've accepted the reality that it won't be any time soon. Not that I would just go around running and jumping everywhere, but you get the drift. :) All I can hope for is that I keep getting better.

In the meantime, I am about to return to classes in a few weeks and I hope sitting isn't going to be a problem. I'm also still working on my Future Past rewrite. I just passed 82k, which is the number I was sitting at before I made cuts. Now I'm just filling story holes and I'm hoping to have it sent back to Ms. DeFino before January is over. This coming March will be 2 years since I wrote the first sentence and I'm so excited by how well I think the story is going. I hope I'm not getting my hopes up. It's gotta pass the DeFino test first. :)

Peace, love, and pain relief,


Friday, December 16, 2011

Standing up - Part 2: Life isn't like the movies

Last night I overheard my husband remark to his daughter, "Zeke isn't free anymore." He was referring to the fact that my youngest boy just turned 4 and many of the restaurants in the area will now no longer let him eat free. "And we can't say he's still 3 because of Honest Abe over there," he remarked gesturing toward me. I'm sure he meant it as a joke because he knows how important it is to me to set a good example for the boys. What are they going to learn if I have them lie in a restaurant about how old they are? That lying is okay as long as you're getting something for free?

Even though I knew it was more than likely a joke, I admit (yeah, sometimes I'm a great big wuss) that it does hurt my feelings when completely innocent people poke fun at people who are good natured. I can't tell you how many times I've been called a "goody two-shoes" growing up. It was a contradiction for me to see movies where the good guy always won, for me to see the arrogant prick get the take down he deserved but then go back to reality and see the exact opposite. More often than not, the people with hidden agendas win and it is the good guy who has to suffer the humiliation of failing when he tries to stand up for himself.

And then we wonder why there ain't (yeah, I'm southern; sue me) more good-natured people out there. Who wouldn't feel incredibly withdrawn after a lifetime of "Honest Abe" stabs or being called self-righteous or self-important for only wanting to do what is right?

Twist of Fate

Then I opened up my Facebook this morning to discover that a man who grew up in my community, a man whose family I've known since I was little, is actually a fellow writer who has just released his debut novel, The Mason Jar (by James Russell Lingerfelt). I don't know Russell that well personally; I was more associated with his big brother, country singer/songwriter Dewey Wayne, who was a grade ahead of me in school. I met their father a few years ago and their mother a few months ago and I can easily say they are one of the nicest families you could ever hope to know.

But anywho, back to the point, I found out about the book through our local paper and in the interview, Russell is quoted, "As kids, we grow up, and we are taught by society that if we are the right kind of person, and do the right things that things will work out... Reality tells us that's not true." I thought it a strange coincidence that I read that interview this morning while contemplating the very same things last night.

The book looks very interesting and I can't wait to read it. It's now officially on my (very long) reading list. Congrats to Russell on his debut. I wish you great success!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Something positive for the holidays - Giving thanks!

I want to take a moment to tell you a nice little Christmas story. Just when I see, hear, and read things that are to the detriment of society, I then run across something that restores my faith in the general good.

My cousins and aunt from out of state have been through a very hard time recently. They came to my neck of the woods with little more than the clothes on their backs. They came here because of my sisters and I; with us nearby they would have the emotional support of family to help them tread through this rough patch and turn their lives around. My sisters and I are also struggling (all of us in college) so we haven't been able to do much for them financially.

One of my cousins, a wonderful young man who has recently been saved at one sister's church, has been taking GED classes. I'm not sure what his plans are but he is making great efforts to better his life and I'm so proud of him.

Recently, he thought he had hit it good; he found a way he could take the GED test for free. When you're relying on someone else to take you to classes, while also trying to figure out how you're going to pay for the basic necessities of life, the $50 to take the test was non-existent. But for some reason or another, he found out that the test wasn't free at all. He would still have to pay $50; money that he didn't have and probably wouldn't see for a long time.

Then along comes Santa, who had heard of my cousin's plight, and $50 was sealed and cleverly delivered. We know who this Santa really is but I'm not going to embarrass this person (or have people knocking on this person's door for more money). I just want to thank this Santa. I know $50 isn't a lot to some but in this little family circle, it is. This was probably the best gift my cousin could have gotten this year.

It means a lot to us that there are caring people like you out there who have faith in others. From my family to yours, Merry Christmas and thank you from the bottom of our hearts. :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Standing up sometimes means standing alone.

There are three kinds of standing up.

1) You can stand up from sitting.
2) You can stand up for yourself against those who would take advantage of you or otherwise bring negativity into your life.
3) You can stand up for what you believe in.

Just to clarify, we'll be discussing the last two kinds of standing up. (But just remember that if you are doing number one, don't do it too fast, especially if you're over the age of 30 and/or suffer from frequent light-headedness.)

It's very easy to tell people to stand up. Sometimes, though, standing up means that you often stand alone. But if you really want to think about it, not standing up is very lonely, too. For a long time, I never stood up for anything. I'd been put down so much that I never believed I could stand up and there were very few times when people stood up for me when I needed it.  For me, that was a very lonely time as well.

That's in the past now. What I've realized since then is that when you stop being that person that people can walk all over, when you stop being that dumping ground, sometimes you lose a little bit of the relationship that you've had with them. In some cases you lose the entire relationship.

Standing up for what you believe in can be equally terrifying. If you stand your ground, you can really damage some relationships and put yourself out on a limb, only to have people spew on you for exercising your right to state your opinion.

This is why it is so hard for a lot of people to grasp what it really means to stand up. When you stand up, someone will always be hurt or offended. That's why when you go out on that limb, you have to be prepared for it to snap and be ready to stand your ground if it does. There are so many people who either can't do that or they have been so wronged that they snap the limb themselves.

To my friends who are not only currently standing up for themselves but also standing up for what they believe in: Please don't feel like you're alone. It's heartbreaking, I know, but you have so many people standing behind you that want to see you through this, even if you don't see them.

And to anyone else battling negativity and discord in their own lives, my best wishes to you. I wish I could stand behind you, too, but there's only so much standing I can do. (Bad back, ya know.) :) Just remember that if you're fighting the good fight, I'm right there with ya in spirit.

Negativity wins when people don't stand up. The world can't change if we keep our mouths shut. Ask yourself: Would you want someone to stand up for you if you were in their situation?  If that answer is yes, then do some standing up of your own.

Peace, love, and courage,


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Taking bets on how long the tree will last.

So my phone doesn't take a good pic but it doesn't need to be extra clear to see the little mischievous creature lurking out from under the left side of the tree.  Between my cat and the two kids, I give my well put together tree less than a week before balls start disappearing.

Peace, love, and getting into the Christmas spirit,