Category Archives: My Writing Life

Searching For Feet.


So somehow, I’ve lost my momentum on this blog and never quite gotten it back.  I haven’t been writing at all, except for e-mails, in months now, and lately I’ve been thinking that it’s time to start again.  This is something that kind of comes and goes, I guess.  I’ve been thinking about other things and busy with cleaning and organizing my house, and getting ready to home school next year, but as I get stuff organized and start feeling better about how the house is being run, writing comes back.

I guess maybe I’ve been cleaning for another reason, besides home school, eh?  I dunno. It’s a bit odd to be me sometimes.  I haven’t been doing much in the way of reading or studying, but it’s like the stuff I learned before is coming to fruition in my life anyway.  I’ve always felt like a schmuck when it comes to housecleaning, and I’ve always felt like it was something I should be better at because it’s better for me and my family if we always have clean clothes and home cooked food, but I often fall short of that goal.

I still do, because I get tired easily, and I often feel sick, but instead of feeling guilty, I just wait it out and do what’s absolutely necessary until I feel up to working my butt off again.  Since we’ve worked on the kids’ rooms, they’re more able to clean up after themselves, which is a great bonus, and I taught Shaya how to load and unload the dishwasher, so she can do that when I’m feeling crappy.  Now, we’re going to work on laundry!

I guess it’s kind of tacky to make the kids do housework, at least from one point of view, but this is kind of a home school before home school starts project.  They need to be able to clean up after themselves [something I never learned until I was a grownup, and something that Steve would tell you I’m still not the best at] in order to become effective adults.  Especially Matt, because he has my distractable tendencies, and forgets what he’s supposed to be doing, so his cleanup process takes a lot more supervision and energy to maintain.

So anyway, I’ve been thinking about writing again, in the midst of all this upheaval and organization.  I got a course by Holly Lisle online, called How to Think Sideways, and I started it back in the beginning, but at the time, I was only able to download one lesson a week, and sometimes I get on a roll, and don’t want to stop once I get going, so it was messing up my rhythm.

It’s all downloaded and complete now, so I think I’m going to start up with it again, and see where it takes me.  I did the first five or six weeks back when it started, and I was already having a great increase in my creativity, and getting in touch with my ‘muse’ so I’m looking forward to starting up again.

I was thinking about posting my progress here, and maybe starting a free write at the beginning of my sessions on the blog, so God willing, I’ll be posting more often here.  Seems like I should be doing something with it since it’s still here and easy to use, eh?

Come fall, I’ll have home school news to post, so that should be fun.  I’ve decided to use Seton Home School curriculum because it’s fully planned out for you.  When I home schooled Shaya before, we couldn’t afford a curriculum, so I did it with no idea of what I was doing, and no help, and Shaya’s education was far from complete because of it.  At the time, I would never have used Seton, because it’s Roman Catholic, but since I’m Orthodox now, RC isn’t quite as offensive to me as when I was protestant.  Makes sense, since the Protestant movement came out of Roman Catholicism, and so you get a lot of ‘Romeaphobia’ in protestant circles.

I’ve learned that while Luther was right to protest some of the things he disagreed with, the path that some of the others took after he opened the can of worms that became the Reformation, was anything but good.  It’s kind of a sad thing, from one perspective, because of the shattering of the Church, and yet, a lot of good has come from the Reformation, too.  So I dunno.  I said all that to say that I’ll be using a Catholic home school curriculum, which also happens to be one of the most complete, and cheapest on the market, so it’s a double whammy!

I think Steve’s mom is a little worried about me using RC material, but in the end, I decided that it would be easier to filter through Catholic teachings than Protestant teachings, even though they’re both two sides of the same coin.  There isn’t a curriculum available that’s Orthodox, so I gotta make do with what I got, you know?

I’ll be supplementing with Orthodox books, too, though.  So hopefully, it will work out and my kids will get a well-rounded education.  I think it will be good, because I can learn with my kids, and that’s kind of exciting, you know?

So about writing.  Even though I’ve taken quite a detour on my quest to write books, I think I might be ready to stretch my brain in that direction again.  I have a hard time finding balance for some reason.  It’s like I only have enough capacity to focus on one, or at the most, two, areas of my life at a time, so when I’m doing one thing, like cleaning and organizing,  everything else takes a back seat.  I’ve always been that way, and I’ve tried at various times in my life to be wider in my focus, I can’t seem to master it.

I’m hoping that with home school, it will enable me to be a better, more involved parent [my kids are pretty self-sufficient, and they’ll find stuff to do without bothering me, which is great, but it lets me be lazy in interacting with them, so I don’t pay enough attention to them] and then after we’re done with school, I’ll be able to focus on writing and not feel guilty because I will have spent a good portion of the day with the kids.

I’m also going to be teaching them how to cook, clean, and do laundry, which is necessary for them, and will be a great help to me.  We’ll be taking weekly trips to the library, and Seton has curriculum for PE, music, and art.  I’m also planning to grow a garden this spring, and the kids will be helping with that, too.  I think they’ll enjoy it.  They all like being outside [well, Matt would rather be inside, but I think he’ll like watching stuff grow because he’s got a scientific, hands-on learning style].

Well, Michaela just came to me and said, “I want some bwead, an some appewbuttew on my bwead.”  She loves apple butter.  So I’d better go.  I’ve got other stuff that needs to be done, too, but God willing, I’ll write more on here tomorrow!

So I’m working on Holly Lisle’s Writer’s Block Course


And damn.  She’s made me cry twice already with visualizations of conversations with my muse. So at one point, there was an exercise where I just needed to sit and write, basically to have a conversation with my muse and figure out what the fuck she’s thinking, ’cause I want to write funny, fantasy stuff, and she seems to want to write morbid, depressing, horrible stuff and it kinda bums me out.

But anyway, in the interest of showing you what I’m going through here, I’m posting my conversation with my muse, and the very short story that came at the end.  The story isn’t edited at all except for typos and grammar, and it’s written from a four year old’s perspective [so, you know, if it sounds like a four year old wrote it, it’s because she DID!]

Want the truth?  I hate the story.  Hate everything about it. It’s my least favorite form of fiction, least favorite topic, and I’m bitter that I wrote it in a way.

On the other hand… it’s the very first time I’ve ever EVER embraced the darkness within me and written what’s in there.  Which is why I’m posting it, because it represents a MASSIVE victory.

Okay, so here goes [I’ll mark my muse’s statements with “M” and my stuff with “S”]:

[s]I’m scared of fiction. I’m scared of letting go and letting my muse take over completely because the stuff that’s in me is so freaking dark, and I hate dark shit.

I don’t like where we’re going, oh muse y one. Why won’t you tell me something funny? Is it me?
What story do you really want to write? Which genre? What length? What subject matter? What life? Which themes? What story do you want to tell? Why? When can we start? How does it start? Is there any humor in it?

[m]Yes, but not much. Humor isn’t what we need to write right now.

[s]Then what is.

[m]mPain. Hurt. There’s a lot in there that we need to purge. Vindictiveness. The sins of your soul, Shelbi. If we’re going to have therapy and fun at the same time, you’re going to have to face your worst fears and write the fuckers down.

Write them down, Shelbi
[s]Losing a child. Losing my husband to death. Having my kids grow up and be bad people.
Wait, that’s it?
[m]Nope. What are the rest of them?
[s]Being hated. Having people think I’m stupid, worthless, a failure. Having people think I’m a freak.
Standing out in a crowd. Not being recognized in a crowd.

[m]What else?

[s]That I’m really a bad person. Irretrievably so. That if I write evil stuff, people will think I’m possessed.
[m]Are you?
I have the living God within me, that isn’t even possible.
[m]Then fuck ‘em.
[s]Hey, you are funny!
[m]Well, yeah, but we’re still not there yet.
Fears. Come on, Shelbi. There’s more in there.
[s]That people will read what I write and hate it, and therefore hate me, too.
[m]You’re kind of wrapped up in what other people think of you, aren’t you?
Think that’s a problem, kid?
[s]Yeah. It paralyzes me.
[m]So why does it matter so much?
[s]I don’t know.
[m]Not an answer. Try again.
Why does it matter to you what people think of you.
[s]Because if they hate me, they are proving me right.
Because I still hate me, too. I need constant appreciation and affirmation from others because deep down, my biggest fear is that I’m right about me, and I am only average.

Average? WTF?!?!
[s]I don’t hate me; I’m just afraid of never being famous. Or never being recognized as anything ‘special’.
[m]Is it really about being famous? Is that all writing is to you?
[s]No. But I want to be famous somehow…
[m]But why?
[s]Because I want to be special.
Why does it freaking matter?
Again with caring too much what people think of you…
Don’t you know that ‘average’ is a lie? Everyone is different. Similar but different. You have a gift in your writing. You have me, and I’m awesome as hell. God gave this to you so you could have fun while bringing him some glory. You love writing, so write.
Even if you never get published [yeah, right… HA! I’m awesome, so you don’t need to worry about that one, okay.] Anyway, even if you never get published, God gave you this gift and expects you to use it.
This is your ‘get out of the boat’ moment, Shelbi. Will you have the faith you need to trust God, and trust me, and write what comes?
Even the evil stuff you will write is okay by God. It’s real, even if it isn’t pretty, it’s part of you, part of this world, and by writing it down, you can exorcise it. Bring it out into the light and see what’s really there. Then let go of it and move on to writing something else.
The humor and love and joy are there, too, and it will shine through the darkness, because that is true too, and it is from God.

Are you ready to start?
*deep breath*

What story do you want to write? I’ll write anything. It doesn’t matter what it is, I will write it. I will write whatever you tell me to. We will write masterpieces together.
Let’s get started, okay?

[m]Good deal, kid. Let’s go!

Short story written immediately after above conversation:

A small child sits alone, playing in the dirt. She has an old doll in her hands, and she’s wearing nothing but underwear and a raggedy shirt. She has dirty hair, and her shins are lined in bruises. Her feet are caked with days’ worth of dirt. She doesn’t make a noise as she plays, but her eyes are alight with a dreamy expression. She holds the doll up, and to her, it isn’t a ragged, third or fourth hand doll, she is a fairy princess, and she is coming to rescue the little girl soon.

Mary’s mother is upstairs, with an ‘uncle’ of Mary’s. Mama goes to sleep sometimes, and it’s hard for Mary to wake her up. Mary has three brothers and a sister, but they were taken away. Mary is four. One of her brothers was six when they left, the rest were younger than she is.
Two of the boys were born at the same time, when Mary was two. The baby Sarah was born last year.
Mary didn’t know why she was the only one left at home, but now she plays alone.
Sometimes it’s hard for Mary to find food. She eats dry cereal out of the box most days, and sometimes mama will get bread and peanut butter.
Mary’s mama used to be the most beautiful mama in the world. She had long brown hair, and Mary used to like to wrap her fingers up in it. It was so soft and Mary felt safe when her mama’s hair fell over her face like a blanket.
Mama had a beautiful smile, and her skin was smooth and soft to touch. Now there are spots on mama’s face, and her smile looks mean.
Mary is scared of mama, especially since Joshua left. Joshie used to make sure Mary was fed. But it was Joshie who called the lady that came and got them. But the lady forgot Mary, and Mary was all alone.
A slow drizzle begins to fall on Mary’s head, but she keeps playing. She knows she can’t get into her mama’s house anyway, and she doesn’t really want to. She’s been in there when mama has an uncle before, and it was scary.
Her uncle had been naked, which Mary thought was yucky, but he had hit Mary’s mama until she fell asleep. Mary ran and hid in a closet, Joshie had taken the twins and baby Sarah down stairs and outside. While she was hiding, the lady had come to get Joshie, the twins, and baby Sarah, and left Mary alone.
Mary’s uncle comes out the door while the drizzle falls, and Mary shivers and plays with her dolly. He looks at Mary, but Mary is making herself too small to see. Mary sees the uncle out of the corner of her eye. He stands there for a long time, and then gets in his car and leaves.
Mary goes up stairs, soaked from head to toe and shivering. Mama is shaking. Mary doesn’t like the smell in the room, but she’s too cold to care, and goes inside anyway.
Mama sees Mary, and comes across the room. Mary reaches up for her mama, hoping mama will help her get warm. Mama is bleeding and crying, and scratching her arms. She picks Mary up, turns, and starts running across the room.

Mama is running toward the big window, and when she gets there, she doesn’t slow down. Mary hears the glass break, and then something warm and hot is on her shoulder and arm.
Mama holds Mary tight as she and her mama fall, and then everything goes black.

~~Yeah, so I hate it.  Every bit of it.  But I did it.  I wrote some fiction for the first time in months, and it sucks, but it’s mine!

Pneumonia and Steroids…


Yup, that’s me right now.  I was in bed, mostly unconscious on Thursday.  Steve took me to the doctor and they gave me antibiotics and steroids.  So yesterday, the steroids really took effect and I was pissed off for no reason, but I could breathe, stand, and shower on my own, so it didn’t matter, you know?

My guess is that I had pneumonia, based on my inability to breathe without severe pain, my lips turning slightly blue when I stood up, severe lethargy, etc. I could be wrong about that, of course, and the doc didn’t tell me one way or the other, and didn’t do any diagnostic tests.  I suppose it doesn’t matter much, except it’s nice to know for informational purposes, since they more than likely would treat it the same way whether it was bronchitis or pneumonia.

Oh well.  The ‘roids are giving me rage and energy, and the urge to write again.  Thank God this is a short pack of ’em.  Started out with 24mg [in six pills] and go down one pill per day, so I should be able to maintain my sanity, eh?

Life is still good.  I am happy.  Oh!  I got accepted into nursing school, and will start that in August.  After just eleven months, I’ll be an LPN.  My plan is to work setting up medical equipment in homes, ’cause working at the hospital here would suck.  The pay sucks, the hospital itself sucks [well, if you’re a patient, anyway].  Apparently, the administration thinks that the nursing staff is the least important rung on the patient care ladder, so they don’t pay very well, and they hire crappy nurses.

I’m a good nurse [yes, already, even without the certificate or work experience that says so]  so I’d be a good addition to any office or hospital floor, but working in bad conditions is not something to which I really want to expose myself.  It’s crazy that the hospital here pays LPNs about $12-$14 an hour, and the medical equipment setting up job mentioned above pays $22 an hour.

Kind of a no-brainer, eh?

So I’m thinking that if I get a good job as an LPN, I’ll go on and get my BSN here in town.  There’s an ADN [that’s a two year nursing degree] program about an hour from here [in KC] but the school costs $16,000 for 8-10 months of schooling, and the BSN program here is around $3500 a year, and it’s a four-year degree.

The four year degree mostly just looks better on paper than the two year, and there are different opinions on which program actually makes better nurses.  However, if I get my BSN, then it’ll be easier to get my master’s and become a nurse practitioner, which is actually what I’m thinking of doing.

If I’m gonna do the career thing, it seems like I should go far enough to make it worth my while.  Nursing is a worthy thing to do just for the love of helping people, and I plan to do short-term medical trips to other countries to help out where people really need it, but I’d be lying if I said that was my only reason.

Nursing is a way for me to help my own family: to help take away some of the financial stress we’ve been living under for over ten years now, to pay for my kids’ education, to give us something to retire on.   Nursing is a practical way for me to ensure these things, an it’s something that I know for sure I can do, that there will always be a job available, and the jobs are varied enough that if I get bored working in one area, I can move on to a different one.

Am I giving up my dreams of writing, or being an artist?  No, not exactly, but I have realized that writing and art can’t really be depended upon to put food on the table, at least not until you actually finish a book and start getting paid for it.  I’m not even close to that.  I don’t even know if I have what it takes to write a whole novel, because I’ve yet to find the determination to stick with a plot long enough to finish it.

I may always just be a blogger and hobby writer, and that’s perfectly respectable.  I may also get some kind of crazy inspiration and be the next JK Rowling, and that would be fine, too [hee hee, but just ‘fine,’ not ridiculously wonderful or anything!].  But, I don’t know the future, so while I’m still dreaming that one day I’ll be a great famous writer, I’m making plans that will help take care of my family in the meantime, eh?

So, how are you doing?  Leave a comment and let me know, okay?

Has It Really Been Over Two Weeks Since I Blogged?


Yup, it would appear so.

I’m doing well, but busy, and I haven’t had much to talk about here.

I think it’s interesting that my most trafficked [is that a word? and I’m sure it’s pitiful grammar, but I don’t really care right now] post is the one on Brazilian waxing.

I haven’t waxed in a long time, and I’ve grown a new forest. Yippee. Waxing is rather time-consuming, and I have to wait until the kids go to bed so I can run naked from my room to the microwave without copious questions, so it’s a bit difficult to fit in, you know?

Steve doesn’t really care one way or the other, so I’m not too worried about it. He mostly worries about whether he’s got access, if you know what I mean.

Shaya spent a month at my mom and dad’s, and I went to pick her up and spent a week with them. We had a good visit. My mom found out that she has severe stenosis in her neck, which is causing her hands to hurt like hell and go numb alternatively.

Rumor has it that there isn’t much you can do with spinal stenosis, which sucks. I don’t know what she’s gonna do.

I’m a little sad tonight, but I’m not exactly sure why. I feel a bit afloat in life right now, I guess. And by ‘right now’ I pretty much mean right this minute. I’m impatient by nature, so waiting drives me nuts. I’m in waiting mode right now, and I’m feeling restless because of it.

I think we’re gonna send both Shaya and Matthew to public school this year, and I’ve been trying to set up an appointment with the principal to figure out which grade Shaya’s ready for. Matthew is going to kindergarten, but I don’t know if I’ve taught Shaya enough to start third grade, which is what she’s ready for age-wise.

I wasn’t too worried about sending her to second grade because she’s really small, so no one would notice that she’s a year older than everyone else, but several caring [grr] people have told me that it could scar her for life to graduate at nineteen instead of eighteen, so now I’m worried about it.

The thing is, I suck at home schooling. She’s doing really well at reading, and she can write, but she’s probably behind in social studies, science, and maybe math. I don’t know if she can catch up if I send her to third grade, and I really worry that if she can’t, I’m setting her up for failure.

I’m sure she could do really well in second grade, and be at the top of her class. My daughter’s ability to learn isn’t the problem, it’s my lack of organization, consistency, and uninterrupted time with her that caused all of this mess.

I wish I could afford to pay someone to tutor her and get her caught up so I could for sure send her to third grade this year. Not gonna happen, though, unless the money fairy stops by.

I’m not very interesting tonight, am I? Bah, like any one still reads this anyway.

I’ve been writing a lot of e-mails lately, and that’s a bit like blogging for me, since they usually turn into epics. I haven’t written anything on my novel in quite some time. I guess my hypergraphia isn’t bad enough to need to finish it yet.

Maybe I should try a writing fast where I don’t write anything at all for a few days and then sit down to write about Thea.

I’m having a hard time focusing on anything [which is normal for me]. Soon, I’ll find something new to binge on and I won’t feel so… is there a word for being in the middle of the ocean on a row boat? Fucked is probably a good term for it.

Interesting Times


My friend Lindsay and I are teaching a Sunday school class called “Pathway to Purpose for Women.” It’s written by the women’s ministry director of Saddleback church in California, which is headed up by the ‘Purpose Driven Life’ guy himself [Rick Warren].

We started a few weeks ago, and things have been going pretty well. I love teaching adults, so it’s a bit like coming home after a long time being out of commission. There’s something inside me that thrives on being able to facilitate spiritual growth, and I think we’re beginning to accomplish that, so I’m excited.

Last Sunday, we started on chapter two, the title of which is: “Leaving Your Past Behind.” I felt like we needed to take a week and do the exercises that are listed in the book, so I assigned homework [evil me]. That’s all fine and good, except I have to do the homework, too.

So I put it off, and finally tackled the first exercise yesterday. I wrote a couple of pages on the exercise labeled, “Write about your pain.” I actually made some connections with my past and how it still affects my life, and I think I actually accomplished some healing, which is way cool.

I also learned that some of my issues have resulted in me being a selfish, competitive bitch, which is depressing. I thought most of my stuff was about my low self-esteem, being overly sensitive, and being a ‘victim’ of crappy circumstances.

What I realized was that some of that is true, but a good portion of it also comes from the fact that I’m a perfectionist who doesn’t like being second at anything. I figured out what caused it, and feel horrible about it, but here it is in all its glory.

My brother Jeremi has cerebral palsy and is a quadriplegic because of it. Growing up, J got most of the attention, whether from my parents [who had to take care of his every need] or others [who fawned over him and heaped praises upon his head for his every tiny accomplishment].

As an adult, I understand why they did it, but as a child, I only saw the great things everyone said about Jeremi, how smart he was, how mischeivous, blah blah blah. They would take several minutes to hug Jeremi, ask him yes or no questions so he could answer them [he blinked for ‘yes’ and verbalized ‘no’] and would laugh when he made jokes [they would ask him if he was being good or staying out of trouble, and he would always say, loud and clear, “NO!”].

When they were finished with J, some would turn to me and ask how I was doing, some would move on to my mom and dad, and forget me completely. It’s a weird dynamic, living with a sibling who has a disability. I loved Jeremi and prayed for him to be healed, but I think maybe it wasn’t always just for his benefit. I wanted J to be ‘normal,’ too, partly because I wanted to get some attention, too.

I had everything J wanted more than life, and yet I wanted what he had. I never wanted to be disabled, but I wanted to be significant, to be admired, to matter, too.

When I was in junior high, my school finally caved to the ADA and allowed Jeremi to become a student there. They had an assembly, saying that Jeremi would be coming, and that he was in a wheelchair. J wasn’t in any of my classes that year, but I heard from his classmates. They either pretended he didn’t exist or they fell in love with him, and if they loved him, they never hesitated to tell me how cool my brother was.

Meanwhile, I had just begun to carve out a spot for myself in the school. I had finally learned how to make jokes before people could make fun of me [for whatever reason, usually for being smart, ugly, or too skinny]. I learned sarcasm and wasn’t afraid to use it, even if it hurt my target. I wasn’t relentlessly cruel, but I could be mean.

I had learned not to be so sensitive, to build a wall between who I really was, and who I let people see. Of course, now I realize that I did myself considerable harm, but at the time, it was the only way I could cope.

That’s when I began to ridicule people who showed character traits that I had stifled, too. I had hidden the part of me that doesn’t quite fit in, whatever that something is. I dunno, I guess it’s the ‘artist’ mentality, for lack of a better word. I’m still trying to reconnect to that part of me, and I’m not all the way there yet.

So from my home life, I developed a strong desire to be in the spotlight. To be considered significant in my own right, not because I had a brother in a wheelchair.

I had a couple of instances early on where I would really try on an art project, or contest of some sort [I did spelling bees], hoping to distinguish myself. Sometimes I succeeded, and other times I failed. I’m just figuring this out, so bear with me, but I think at some level, I always wanted to be the ‘teacher’s pet.’

I was in a bad class to accomplish that, though, since several of my classmates were kids of teachers, and several others had parents who were friends with teachers, so those kids had connections before I ever started school.

They got preferential treatment because of who their parents were, and no one knew my parents. We lived in the country, and my parents were never big on being ‘room mom’ or whatever. Mom worked nights or evenings, and Dad was a farmer and worked his ass off, so there wasn’t an opportunity for them to get to know the teachers.  I was on my own, and I was too shy to speak up most of the time.

There were a couple of things that I could shine in. Unfortunately, they were areas that the teacher’s kid was good at, too.

So my whole life has been about wanting to be the best. But, as if that wasn’t bad enough, I had to give myself an ‘out,’ just in case I wasn’t ‘the best,’ so I never put forth my absolute best effort. That way, if I failed, I could believe that it was because I didn’t do my best, not because someone else was better than me.

This is exhausting to write about, I can just imagine what you are going through right now trying to read it.

I’m still trying to figure out how I can be a perfectionist and only do things half-assed, but that trait is still there, too. I think it’s been about making excuses for not doing anything, and making excuses for not succeeding when I do try [because I don’t try my hardest].

And all of this is because, like an idiot, I compare myself to others, and find myself lacking. Which brings us full circle, back to: I really don’t like myself very much. I don’t matter as much as others, so I don’t matter at all.
It’s all a vicious cycle, isn’t it?

So last night, I realized that I have to stop doing things half-assed. I need to do the best that I possibly can, and then let the chips fall where they may. One thing I figured out is that even if I fail, if I’m not the best, I can know that I did my personal best, and then the next time I try it, if I learned from my mistakes, I will do better.

I also have to stop using the, “If I can’t do it perfectly the first time, I’m not gonna do it, and if I’m not perfect the first time I attempt something new, I’m never gonna try it again,” lame-ass excuse.

I mean come on, big baby much?

That means I’m gonna finish this damn novel I started if it kills me, then I’m gonna edit the hell out of it [or into it, depending on how you look at it!]. Then I’m gonna take a hard look at it and start querying agents so I can send the damn thing out. If it gets published, great. If it doesn’t, I’ll write another damn novel, and do better next time, won’t I?

The cool thing about figuring out some of your shit is it empowers you to change the self-defeating behavior. The bad thing here is, I still haven’t figured out all of my shit.

I’m writing on my novel again, so I’ve obliterated a couple of blocks, but at some point this is gonna happen again, because I have a feeling I’m not done yet. I’m liking myself more and more, but finding out that I’m really competitive [and not very nice about it] bothered me a lot.

I’ve never been one to outwardly be a bitch to other people, but in my thought life, I’ve eviscerated more than one person who was more successful than I was. I’ve fought jealousy more times than I care to think about, and I’m sad to say that jealousy has probably destroyed more friendships or potential friendships than I realize.

I’ve been resentful, and a little afraid of people who are more successful than I am. Rather than try to learn from them, I’ve avoided them, thinking that they would see me the same way I saw myself: Inferior. I think I’ve missed a lot of valuable lessons by doing that, and I’ve probably missed getting to know some incredible people, too.

I’ve read two books in the past few months written by people who went to Calcutta to work with Mother Theresa for a while. Both of those people wrote a letter, or made a call, and ended up making the trip of a lifetime to meet and work alongside one of the most amazing people of our time.

It never occurred to me to write a letter to Mother Theresa because I figured it would be a waste of time. I never imagined that she would be able to take the time to talk to me, or respond to something I had written. And yet, for at least two people, she invited them to come, and they did. I wonder what would have happened if I’d taken a chance and called the number. I’ll never know now, but there’s a lesson in there, don’t you think?

Life’s about taking chances and risking failure, and sometimes a ‘no’ isn’t a failure, but a postponement for something better. You won’t find out if you never take the first step, though, right?

Finally, An Update


I actually wrote a scene for my novel today.  Yay!  It’s actually three mini-scenes, which may require more flesh at some later date, but the point here, my friends, is I wrote something on my freaking story for the first time in months!

My youngest child is running around with a sandwich baggie on her foot.  She is giggling like Daffy Duck when his tail feathers catch on fire.  She’s crazy, but you gotta love a kid who can entertain herself with a baggie, you know?

Earlier, we could hear Matthew yelling at Michaela, “It’s not funny, Michaela!  It’s not funnyyyy!!” She giggled maniacally the whole time he was screaming.  Sometimes you can’t interrupt the fighting because you’re laughing too hard.  You see, it really is funny, no matter what Matthew thinks!

Yesterday, I found Shaya’s little grooming purse I got for her to put her hair brush and hair bands [the kind to make ponytails, not heavy metal musicians from the 80s] in.  It was full of something, so I picked it up, unzipped it, and found that it had been stuffed with vanilla wafers.

Now Micheala’s eating green jello with her fingers, [giggling again], and saying, “Oooh, cold!  Heehehehehee!  Oooh cold!  That my jello?  It cold.  Heehehehehehe.  Ooh cold!”

I would try to reproduce the dialect here, and may some time in honor of the Book I Couldn’t Read Because Of All the Freaking Dialect [Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn] but not right now.  Dialect has it’s place:  Usually in the trash.

Remember my mad tirade about the supplement I wanted to try but couldn’t because I couldn’t stomach the business practices of the person who was a distributor? Well, in my search to get some cheaper on eBay, I stumbled upon another product that people have similar [often better] results with, but the company doesn’t suck.

The coolest thing is, they’ll give you a free bottle to try [gasp!]  So I got my free bottle, and have been taking this stuff every day for the past two weeks.

This is insane, but my eczema is getting better.  I’ve had a mild case for years, but it’s gotten significantly worse since we moved away from Mid-Mo to Northwestern-MO. By the time I finally went to the doctor about it, it was bad enough that she put me on oral steroids to get it under control.

I’ve been using steroid cream ever since to keep it from taking over both of my hands.  Just about everything under the sun would cause painful, itchy blisters to pop out all over my hands, then the blisters pop and the skin gets dry and flaky and peels off, and it starts all over again if I get into anything I’m allergic to.

I haven’t been able to use anything with sodium-lauryl/laureth sulfate in several years without instant breakouts.  Touching raw vegetables did it, too, for some reason.  Dish soap, laundry soap, Windex, bleach, almost anything would cause a breakout [some worse than others].

Since I’ve been on this supplement, the eczema on my feet is completely cleared up, I had started to have breakouts on my legs, too, and they are mostly gone, and my hands.

Lordy, my hands!  After I noticed that I seemed to be getting better, I started doing some experiments by touching raw veggies [peeled sweet potatoes.  Instead of the instant horrid breakout I used to get, I was a little itchy for a couple of hours and it went away].

I’ve also had my hands in dishwater.  My skin dried out a little more, so it increased the flaking a little, but I didn’t break out and itch like a maniac at all!  I haven’t used my steroid cream in three weeks, I’ve been taking this supplement for two weeks, I haven’t used any creams, lotions, oils, etc. on my hands, feet, or body, at all, and yet I’m still improving.

I don’t understand it, and I don’t see how eczema going away can be a placebo effect, so there must be something to this stuff.

I’ve also noticed an increase in my energy.  It’s been pretty dramatic, too, since I’ve been chronically exhausted for about nine years now.  I’ve found energy to do something productive a couple of times, and didn’t feel like I was gonna die afterward [also, I didn’t need three days to recuperate.  The next day, I felt fine].

I don’t know how this is possible, although I’ve done a lot of research on the ingredients of the product [it’s made out of aloe vera and sea vegetables (aka seaweed)] and found that there are some health benefits associated with them, although most of the evidence is preliminary, and no one seems to have an interest in doing more thorough studies on the benefits of eating seaweed.

I wasn’t expecting to see any results this fast, and I certainly wasn’t expecting to see an improvement in my eczema, of all things [I had hoped for a little more energy, and maybe increased resistance to infection since that’s one of the possible health benefits listed for aloe and several of the sea vegetables in the product].

So that’s part of the reason I haven’t been updating much.  When I feel better, I have other things to do besides live beside my computer.  I think I spent so much time here and on the ‘net because I felt like I was doing something, without having to move around much.

Now I’m moving around more, so less time is spent here at the computer.

You know, I’ve wondered for years if I’m really just lazy and trying to rationalize my un-productivity away by saying I was too tired to do anything.  Remembering what it’s like to actually have energy after years of running on empty is damn near miraculous.

I’ll keep you updated on any other results I get.  I’ve gotta go cut Steve and Matt’s hair now.

See ya later.



I re-read some old false-starts on different stories that I wrote a while back, and I realized something. 

I don't suck. 

The contest story I entered didn't suck either, but it wasn't perfect.  I could see why it didn't get picked, but the premise and even some of the scenes worked, it just wasn't quite finished in terms of editing.

Editing is a booger for me, because I really have no clue how to do it.  I read the story, and change a few words, but when I read any story, it's for reading purposes, not editing.

I think I'm gonna have to re-join Forward Motion [can't remember my username and password… maybe I have it saved somewhere] and read and submit some actual critiques. 

So anyway, I actually thought about Thea's story today and where to go next.  I'm still mulling it over.  I need to just sit down and write the damn thing.  Once I get into the groove, I do okay, it's just starting that's hard.

I haven't given up.

Yesterday, though, I discovered digitally rendered art, and damn!  It's cool!  I want to get a tablet and pen thingy that hooks up to the computer so I can paint.  I played with a free program yesterday, but the mouse isn't conducive to detail.

I did one painting, and I liked it.  I'd post it for you, but I can't remember how, and wordpress is different than blogger.  It's not anything, just some star-burst looking things, but it makes me feel good when I look at it.  Soothing, you know?

Anyway, I have a lot of things I want to try and experiment with, and every damn one of 'em costs money.  We're exceptionally poor these days, so it's all gonna have to wait.

I wish there was a way for me to earn a little money from home.  Steve's thought about second employment, but I'd rather he didn't get a second job if he doesn't have to.  We'd never get to see him, and we did that for the six months of the academy, and I'm not willing to do it again if I don't have to.

I'd like to be able to take some pressure off, and also to be able to afford some extras [like the tablet thing for me, and some kind of attachment for his guitar or something… wah pedal?  I think it's called?  It's completely silly, but he's wanted one ever since before we got married, and I'd love to be able to get him one.

So I'm feeling financially dissatisfied with my life.  And health-wise, I'm not worth anything either [I doubt I could handle a job outside the home even if I didn't have any kids at this point].  I'm praying hard about both things. 

I've got to find a way to feel better.  I just seem to be getting worse, and it sucks big time.  My memory is gone, and I hurt all the time.  I know my illness isn't as bad as many who suck it up and do whatever's necessary regardless, but I'm not that strong.  Never have been.

I often wonder why some people face adversity and rise above it, and others just kind of sit down and give up.  I don't know what the difference is, if it's genetic, or if it's all about mind control.  I don't want to be a quitter, but historically, that's what I've been.

I'm working on it, but damn, it's hard to change your behavior when you don't have a clue where to start.

Okay, I have a headache now, so I'm gonna go. 

I’m Still Here


But blogging erratically at best.  I'm feeling better than I was, but still out of sorts.  I decided not to finish with my Cymbalta samples since they expired a couple of months ago and I was waking up at four in the morning unable to go back to sleep.

Plus, my stomach was in a mess, and I'm still not sure if it was the med or a flu bug of some sort.  I've been fighting off cold-like symptoms for a few days, so maybe it is the flu. 

I got some Zycam quick melt tablets a while back and decided to try them last night.  Oh. My. Gosh.  How disgusting!  You're supposed to let them melt in your mouth without chewing them or swallowing them whole.  Then you can't get drink or eat for 15 minutes.

The thing is, they taste like bird shit laced with artificial cherry flavor.  No really [don't ask me how I know what bird shit tastes like, just trust me…]  So no more Zycam for me.  The other kind of Zycam available is a gel that you stick up your nose, and that's not much better, although I do use NasalCrom every year for my hay fever, but I was actually thinking of the kids when I got the tablets, but I had no idea they'd taste so bad.

I should have known, though, Zycam is a homeopathic remedy, and I tried one of those once and it tasted vaguely of bird shit, too.  So, my little experiment came to an abrupt end, and I still feel pretty crappy.

So what have I been doing with myself?  Spending time with my family.  I usually blog late at night after the kids go to bed [who can get anything done when the curtain-climbers are awake?  Not me, that's for sure.]

But that's also the time that Steve and I have to visit with eachother, so when I was blogging every day, I wasn't really spending time with my husband.  He's my best friend, and I missed him.

There was a bit of distance growing between us [that happens when you don't talk to each other much] and I realized it was mostly my fault. Steve generally follows my lead in our relationship, which just means that he doesn't insist on 'together time,' he waits for me to say we need some.

If I'm on the computer, he finds something else to do and never complains.  He's really too easygoing for his own good, and I can be pretty shameless in taking advantage of him.  He's not a doormat, but he's really sweet and patient, and I'm pretty demanding and selfish, so when I stop to think about it, I realize that I'm being a bitch and need to think about what he needs and wants for a change.

Which is what I've been doing. So instead of spending several hours blogging [and reading blogs] every night, I've been spending time with him.  Sometimes we look at stuff on the computer together, but usually we talk [or have sex, and he's not complaining one bit about that, either]. 

I'm blessed with a husband who likes to talk, and although I say more words than he does, we can carry on conversations about anything, and we both enjoy it.  So I'm spending my words and time on Steve, and that's a good thing, you know?

Am I finished with the blogosphere?  I doubt it.  But I'm probably not going to be adding an entry every day, either.  I still have my blogs that I read all the time [you can find several of them on my blogroll, although they aren't the only ones I read… maybe I'll get around to adding some more later on.]

I didn't win the short story contest I entered in March, so y'all don't get to read it, but I've realized that I need to submit some of my writing for critique, which means either finding a real life writing group here, or joining one online [which means that I'll have to return the favor and critique other people's work, which makes me nervous… I've never done it and I have no idea if I'm capable of critiquing past, "I liked it." or "It read flat for me." or whatever else horrible critters do.] 

I think my writing may fall flat or something.  I'm not much for description [that's the part I usually skip over when I'm reading, so writing it is like so much torture].  But other than that, I really don't know anything about the quality of my writing or plots or whatever else you need to pay attention to when you're writing.

A little like searching for treasure, walking blindfolded with my hands tied behind my back.  So I'm in research mode again.  I plan to read the stories that did win the contest and compare them.  The judges agreed to send me my 'score' so I'll ask them for that in the next few days if they don't send it.  I may see if I can find a crit group to read it and tell me how I can make it better, and so on.

I liked the story, so I'd like to make it good enough to be publishable, you know?  I'm not giving up, and now I've got a plan of action, so I'd say this entry was therapeutic, if not coherent.

[Doug commented on 'one topic bloggers' the other day and I laughed.  A whole blog about one topic?  Hee hee.  I can't even do a whole blog entry about one topic!]

Okay, so anyway, I'll see you in a few days, okay? 

And the Moral of the Story Is: Never Use Your First Draft


I read one of my previous posts, and boy, do I need to edit! Sheesh. I can tell I just wrote and posted. Maybe I need to write, save as a draft, then edit and publish it. I’ve got a big day of housework planned tomorrow, but I’m gonna have a go at editing on Friday.

It’s funny how God is teaching me how to do the writer thing through blogging. I feel like I’m on a journey of self-discovery in a way. I don’t know if that’s interesting to anybody else in the world, but that’s all I got right now. I’m going through a lot of spiritual upheaval. My faith is changing and growing, but in a direction I didn’t even know was possible.

I think that once I get through whatever this is, I will know what direction to take in my writing. I actually thought about non-fiction, but I’m not famous, I don’t have a degree in anything, and I’m not consistently funny enough to do humor. I’m not an expert on anything, either. I have a lot of opinions, and some pretty extensive experience in being a wife and mother [10 years married and 8 years mommy, unless you count the years for all three, then it’s fifteen, which sounds more impressive, don’t you think?]

Okay, so anyway, I’m searching, and hoping to find something interesting to talk about for tomorrow’s post, because this is boring even me…


The Beginning Is Now


I spent most of the day trying to figure out what I want to talk about next. I was supposed to get a couple of new books yesterday at church, but I didn’t get a chance to get them because my kids were having a meltdown. So, today, I kept coming back to my writing.

Specifically, my fiction. I have three novels that I started but couldn’t finish for various reasons. I think the main reason is self-doubt. I am annihilating that one even as I type this. Through this blog, I am learning that it doesn’t really matter what I write about, as long as I write something, and as long as I’m honest. I may be full of crap, but I can guarantee you that I’m speaking the truth as I see it.

On the technical side, I’ve learned that it takes me about two hours to write one of these, and that they average between 700 and 900 words each. That does include editing, but my editing process for blog posts consists of a spell check with a glance at punctuation and grammar. I may not be perfect at it, but this is how I speak in real life, and that’s the tone I’m going for. I think I have a fair grasp of the English language, and I am learning every day how to convey emotion through the written word [y’all let me know how I’m doin’ okay?].

What I’ve been pondering today, though, is: What the heck do I want to write?

The books I’ve begun are fantasy [which I love to read]. The first one, I went completely organic, just writing as I went. About 8,000 words in, I fell into these huge plot holes, and couldn’t find my way out.

The second one, I went with the Marshall Plan for novel writing. I plotted about half of it, and then started writing from the beginning using my handy-dandy novel sheets. I think I got distracted from that one, but also, after I had planned out and written down everything that was going to happen in the scene [without actually writing it in manuscript form] I felt like I had written it already. I also started changing things as I wrote the actual manuscript, which rendered useless over half of my novel sheets for later in the book. So it ended up being an exercise in futility.

The third one was my NaNoWriMo entry. I tried, but never really got past the starting gate on that one. I will probably try it again next November, but for this year, I’m done.

I liked all the ideas for my novels, but I hit a brick wall with all three. So, I’m trying to figure out what that block is. Several contributing factors come to mind, though. They may all go back to one root cause, but here goes.

1. Until now, I have not set apart time every single day to write. My kids are seven, four, and two, but there are a lot of professional [female] writers who have young kids and manage just fine. I think that I have not prioritized my writing as I should have. It’s been more of a ‘when I feel like it’ kind of thing and I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t work. I’ve been manufacturing guilt feelings, thinking I’m a bad mom if I take the time I need to do this.

I’m also very disorganized, and a little scatterbrained when it comes to house work, so I feel guilty if I’m writing when I think I should be cleaning [which I almost never do, so the writing never gets done, either.] Lord ‘o mercy, got neuroses?

2. There’s the fear of failure thing. What if I suck? What if I send it off and get a letter back saying, “This is positively the worst drivel I’ve ever seen! What were you thinking, you nitwit?” [yeah, I know that wouldn’t happen, but I’m wallowing here, so cut me some slack!]

3. Then there’s this evil woman who has lived in the back of my brain for as long as I can remember. She talks too much, and says stuff like this: You suck. You’re lazy. You never finish anything. Writing is work, and you have never worked at anything else in your life, you always give up when it gets hard, remember? [then she spews a long list of every failure, real or imagined, in my life.]

Yup. I’m thinking it’s time to kill the b****, what do you think?

Let’s give her a name. It can’t be mine, because while she’s part of me, she’s a damaged part that isn’t the real me.

When I was in the seventh grade, I had a friend who called me snelby. I hated it. It made me feel degraded because she always said it with this snide nasal tone, and I never could get her to stop.

Wow, I had forgotten feeling that way, but it’s all right here, and I think that could be where Negative Girl might have come from. Anyway, I always felt degraded, put down, made fun of, and so small and helpless with those people who were supposed to be my friends. I don’t know what the motivation was for them to act that way, and I don’t know why I put up with it[looking back, you’d think I would have found some different friends, wouldn’t you?].

So anyway, let’s call her Snelby, because that name encompasses all the pain of my childhood, always trying, but never quite fitting in. I don’t think we have to kill Snelby. I think we have to heal her broken heart. And we have to forgive the people who hurt her, because whatever their reasons, it wasn’t something wrong with me. It was a broken place in their own hearts.

I forgive you, my school friends,
For hurting the fragile child that I was.
I forgive you, “Snelby,”
For believing the lies they told.
You were never stupid,
Or ugly,
Or unworthy of support,
Love, and success.
Take back your power, child.
The beginning is now.